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Commuting to Work

He wakes up around 7:00 and beyond the curtains is the sound of rain bouncing off a thin layer of frozen snow.  He decides to just lay there, feeling the warmth of the blankets, his room, and the quiet neighbourhood in the bustling city.  Two streets over, if he listens very closely, are the sounds of cars speeding down the expressway with one thought in the mind of each driver - destination.  The hour of the daily commute has arrived.

Finally at 8:11, he gets up slowly.  His lower back muscles are still throbbing from the strenuous work out last week.  Standing on the bed, he parts the curtains - the horror! A commuter’s nightmare: freezing rain encases the black asphalt.  A scene flashes through his rested mind.  A busy intersection, two tons of metal skidding into the middle of it, followed by a sudden smash - leaving behind bits of broken glass and two raging commuters screaming at each other.  Standing there on his bed he thinks, “If I just shut the curtains, it will all vanish, and I can disappear back under the warm blankets.”

Onward, onward, to the great mystery of the day that lies ahead.  His daily commute is about to begin.


First to the kitchen.  A few dirty dishes lie beside the sink. He plugs in the old metal kettle and pours some Ginseng powder into the Japanese mug.  As the water molecules heat up, he becomes aware of his stiff body.  Back and forth with a little Tai Chi in the kitchen as the sound of the water begins to gurgle and transform into a mist of steam.

Still wearing his robes of sleep, he enters the living room and alternates between sipping tea and a more extensive stretching routine.  Stiff muscles relax, stale thoughts disappear.  The traffic seems so far away in this little oasis.

Now it is time for the next stage.  A quick cool shower to awaken the senses followed by a decision on his attire.  “Bright, I want vibrant, lively colours to contrast the grayness,” he thinks.  Flipping through his closet his hands stop on the sunflower yellow button down.  “Yes this will  brighten things up.”  Since it is not too cold out, he puts on a bright pink pullover from his ski instructor days.  It is just a light shell, but that will do, as he does not have far to go.  He is now just about ready for the day’s adventure: the creative mystery that waits to be discovered in each new day.

In his mental checklist he realizes a few items that he will need: a pen, pad of paper, a tape deck for recording thoughts, and a portable mug filled with cool water.  “There is still something missing.”

As he is pondering, he hears the words singing in his mind, “You need your music, beautiful, eternal music.”  So he descends into the basement storage room, to browse through the cassettes that lay on the shelf. “Beethoven’s ninth will do for this trip.” he thinks, as he places the timeless music of this great composer into his pocket.  He says good-bye to his father, opens the door and steps into his vehicle.


There he sits, and, through the window, sees the rain, the naked trees, a few brown leaves, and the overcast sky.  He turns the heat down and places the Beethoven cassette in the tape deck.  Yes, a great companion for his journey.  The mug sits within easy reach, and beside him rest the pen, paper, and cassette deck.

Ready for ignition.  He starts up the machine, listens to the music, and turns on the screen.  He has arrived; it is time to write another story. 

Perhaps he will get out of the house sometime during the day, to go for a walk and some fresh winter air.


January 5, 1998

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