You’re 14, galavanting through “fields of gold” – a Neil Young-inspired dreamscape. You’re holding hands with that boy you had a crush on in middle school, the one who always wore DocMartins and that black “Guns and Roses” hoodie. The sun is hot on your back. You are giggling at something he said. A clump of wildflowers brush against your bare calves. The boy swings you around to face him, he’s leaning in to kiss you…but there is a loud beeping. Where is that damn sound coming from? Some sort of time warp is pulling you into another dimension. He’s fading into the background, his hand reaching out towards you. “Come back, Daniel, come back!” you plead.
But you are lying in your bed now. You wiggle your toes. Your brain mentally downloads your reality. You are the adult version of you again, and your alarm clock is beeping. You sit up, your eyes register 7:20 on the large illuminated numbers on your alarm clock. NOOOO! It’s been beeping for 40 minutes while your dream-self was being an irreverent teenage romantic. You sit bolt uprights with a head rush.
You head straight for the shower. The warm water cascades over your face…What’s Daniel been up to for the last 20 years, you wonder?
As you’re toweling off, your phone rings. It’s your boss. You switch your phone to speaker mode as you proceed to apply vanilla-scented lotion to your legs, abdomen, butt, and arms.
Your boss is discussing a client who is on your schedule today, and your brain is registering about 50% of his diatribe. “Sounds great!…Absolutely!” you say with forced confidence. You mute the phone as you pee, then un-mute it again to interject the conversation with a random “uhuh.”
You hang up and begin hurriedly curling your hair into little ringlets. A glance at the clock indicates that you had better skidaddle or you are toast. There are exactly 5 ringlets on your head and the rest is limpid and straw-like. You grab a rubber band, slick all of your hair back into a ponytail then beeline for the door, bulletproof coffee in hand. You are wearing a blouse that has a (hopefully) indecipherable spot on the front. Your hair is a mangled amalgam of half-ringnlets, half-straight clumps with stray wispies protruding in all directions.
It takes approximately 14 minutes to get to work. The rest of your morning routine happens “en route.” At the stop light, you hurriedly apply deodorant. In your rear view mirror you can see the dude one car over gaping at you. You avoid eye contact. Always avoid eye contact.
A light blue minivan leisurely pulls out in front of you cruising at 12 miles an hour in the 25 MPH zone. You pull a low-key tailgate. The van had a bumper sticker reading, “Do you follow Jesus this closely?” The light turns yellow and the minivan peters to a stop. When it turns green again, the van remains at a standstill.
The driver, likely a frazzled parent, is obviously too preoccupied disciplining their screaming children in the back seat to step on the acelerator. When the van finally lurches forward, a red-headed toddler protrudes his head out the passenger window and sticks out his tongue, tilting his head back and scrunching up his little nose. You wave back smiling broadly – in spite of the fact that he is obviously the devil’s minion responsible for making you late this morning. Well, he’s an adorable little minion. You begin to wonder if Daniel has kids…
After you’re finished inhaling your bulletproof coffee, you knock back a swig of mouthwash. You slosh it around. You scan your car for an empty container to spit into, but there is nothing. Oh boy. The mouthwash is stinging your mouth. Stinging like a mofo! You’re going to have to spit, but where?
You stop at an intersection. Your heart begins pounding as you realize that the inevitable is about to go down. You open up your car door, spit the mouthwash out onto the asphalt, close your car door. You keep your eyes glued straight ahead. You then innocently press on the gas as the light changes. The car behind you waits a beat, then cautiously follows, maintaining a safe following distance of about 20 yards.
The car behind you is likely assuming that a drunk woman just threw up in the middle of the intersection at 7:50am in the morning. They will probably relay this story to their coworkers with righteous indignation at work this morning.
You then find yourself tailing a Jeep with a menacing looking machine gun painted in the rear-view mirror, under which is the caption, “Come and Get It.”
“Good lord,” you think, as you now become the one nonchalantly laying on the break. This guy is likely strapped and looking for an asshole tailgater such as yourself to let lose decades full of hatred and a monsoon of bullets upon.
You squeal into the parking lot with 30 seconds to spare. You then adopt a “breezy” air as you whisk through the front door, waving cooly at the desk clerk. Your heart rate is off the Richter scale. You say “good morning” to three co-workers in the hallway with a saccharine, Buddha-like serenity. You are a badass.