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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mini-Adventures In Commuting

A writer's imagination can be an interesting thing. It's why we can take someone being 10 minutes late and build it into an epic tale that leaves us worrying about the tragedy that befell our friend. It's why I battle a tendency toward hypochondria. When it comes to symptoms, Google is not my friend. And this morning, something happened that has my brain spinning.

It was dark when I left my house to go to work. I have to take a few side streets to reach the highway and one of them is major enough that it will have traffic even really early in the morning. I pull at a stop to pull out on this semi-major side street, I don't see any other vehicles coming--not a single one--and I turn on.

It's not too far to the highway, and while I glanced in my rearview mirror a couple of times, the road behind me remained deserted. And then I slowed for the yield onto the highway.

In the reflection of my taillights, I saw another vehicle. He was maybe a car length in back of me.

He was driving without any headlights, and it wasn't even borderline--it was dark. No way should anyone be driving without their lights on.

This totally freaked me out!

My first thought was that he was a police officer trying to catch speeders, but the way people drive in the Twin Cities, he didn't need his headlights off to give out tickets. Once I ruled that idea out, my imagination kicked into gear. Why was this guy driving without lights?

I'll never know the real answer to this question. My current favorite scenario involves nefarious activity. There have been a rash of garage thefts in the area--maybe this is our culprit? Of course, driving like that is guaranteed to attract attention--look at how much time I've spent thinking about this--where if he'd just turned his lights on, no one (including me) would have thought twice about him.

Some people wonder where writers get their ideas. Look no farther. As I spin scenarios in my head, I'm already thinking I wonder if there's a book/story here?