“You have 10 minutes to drop off the package.”
The voice at the other end just stopped. I threw my cell phone down and started my car in the same motion. My motor was eager to prove its mettle. I had my navigation system on as I pulled out of the parking spot. My destination is 7.0 miles away in the most direct path, but then I would have to go through town. That was not an option. I had to get the package there in time.
I turned left into traffic and started heading in the opposite direction of where I had to go. It was time for something radical. I would go a longer but hopefully faster way by taking back roads and avoiding traffic lights. It was 5:50 pm and the traffic in town was as slow and unpredictable as a free Amazon Super Saver shipment.
5:51 pm – I head down on 8 Mile Road while scanning my navigation system. I have to turn down a small dirt road that I typically miss. I can’t make a mistake today—I have to focus. Which also happens to be the car in front of me, a Ford Focus. Doing exactly 1 mph below the speed limit. Looking down the road, I could see that the traffic wasn’t going to let me pass anytime soon. I have to concentrate. Where is that road?
5:52 pm – There! I see it coming on the left, just like my trusty navigation system told me. I time the gap in traffic, make my left, and hit the gas!
And then immediately hit the brakes. I guess this dirt road hasn’t been re-surfaced in a while. Jason Statham would certainly think twice about taking an Audi or BMW down this road. I drive a mile on it until I hit regular pavement again. I summon all 305 hp in my car and accelerate once more into the breech.
5:54 pm – Two seconds later I’m behind a pickup truck. At least he’s doing the speed limit. I follow him for a mile. And after he turns, I follow him another mile. At. The. Speed. Limit.
5:56 pm – I make another left to get away from the pickup truck only to get behind a landscaping truck. Again, we’re doing the speed limit.
5:57 pm – I’m still behind the truck.
5:58 pm – I’m still behind the truck.
5:59 pm – I’m still behind the truck, but we’re 5 mph over the speed limit now, because we’re in city limits. I feel the rush.
6:00 pm – I’m waiting for the light to turn green. The truck is still ahead of me, but my target is just 100 yards past the light on the right. Time has now stopped. Actually, it hasn’t because I’m not traveling near the speed of light. Or at a singularity.
6:01 pm – I pull in to a parking spot. I’m late! I am ready to face my consequences.
6:02 pm – The UPS guy smiles at me as I walk in and says that he just got off the phone with my wife. She had called him to see if he could wait a couple of minutes for me to get there. He cheerfully takes my package and waves good night to me. I love UPS.
6:03 pm – Dinner was waiting. Would I make it in time? I slip the car into first gear and throttle onto Milford Road. I have to focus. My kids will bogart all my favorite chicken pieces if I’m late. I can’t let that happen. I roar to the speed limit.
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Crankiness Rating: 2 out 11 (An excuse to drive fast on the road? Oh, I’ll have think about it.)