Archives for December 2, 2011

Thoughts While Driving

I commute from Westbrook to Kennebunk. It’s a 30 minute trip each way which gives me plenty of time to think. In theory. In the mornings, I don’t think. I listen to the radio and zone out. As we’ve discussed before, I am not a morning person, so it’s nice to have some veg time (of course, I am usually tooling along at 75 miles per hour, so maybe I should rethink that.) This morning I was arguing with people in my head and putting people in their proper place and you would’ve been proud of my oratory abilities and such. I told ’em like it is! And I was right! Damminit!

Tonight I drove back toward Westbrook with the radio blaring (not ready for Christmas music yet, so still using 97.9 for drive-time), reminding myself I need to get off at Exit 46 (best way to my Parent’s house) rather than Exit 47 (best way to our house) or Exit 45 (the mall – duh). Because, when I’m driving, sometimes I go on autopilot. In my brain thinking, paying attention to the road but not paying attention; as long as everything is going aces, all the cars stay out of my way, the roads are dry and the visibility good – I can let my brain lead me to home.

Once I was driving from Westbrook to Portland to meet Edmund at The Great Lost Bear. I took the Westbrook Arterial and drove by Exit 47. Well, my brain turned on and thought I might be driving to work. I got on the interstate going south, instead of driving straight by the interstate to take Brighton Avenue instead. Of course I don’t notice until I was half-way down the on-ramp. I exited on Exit 46 and hooked over from Congress street instead. Good times.

Sometimes I daydream about winning five million dollars, from the lottery or maybe some eccentric person just gives us the money because we are cool. Then I start spending it. And I realize that, clearly, five million dollars is not enough, if we’re going to share it with my parents and brother, and Ed’s parents and his sister, we are going to need a lot more money. So I should really daydream about winning 100 million dollars. That could only be from a lottery. And maybe I should buy a ticket or something. No matter. Once my fantasy degrades to how many awesome but tasteful things we will do with the money – we will get a big house, and start a foundation, yea that’s it a foundation for artists! and everyone will love us because we are so generous, and cool, we are very very cool – I realize that maybe, just maybe the “winning money” daydream is not that productive. So I plot out possible novels instead. Novels where the heroines (it’s always a heroine) inherit, you guessed it, a lot of money! And a big house! [And the heroine is always single, and she always meets a tall, dark and handsome gentleman, and they fall in loves and gets married and there is nary a hidden wife in the bell tower.]

And then there is my favorite time. It’s rare, but it does happen: when I spend my drive time thinking about a work problem. I’m not talking about interpersonal relationships and such. What I mean is when I have a particularly tricky programming issue to solve. Whether it’s because the survey is complex or the research associate wants to look at the data a different way, or even if it’s just because there are a large number of variables I need to consider and I know there is a way to get the work done quicker – I LOVE obsessing with how I am going to solve this work problem. And the aha! moments are priceless.

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What do you think about when you’re driving?