Every day, as I hop into my car and onto the 210 West ramp or the 10 West Freeway, I already imagine myself driving back home from work, when work has not even started. But it never happened, except one particular day this week, unfortunately.
Soothing jazz played in the background as I gathered my wits and checked my GPS. Every morning at 6:35AM, I check for and take the fastest route, some more complicated than others. That day, the GPS told me to go a route that I thought I was familiar with:
1. 210 West
2. CA-2 Glendale Fwy North
3. I-5 South Golden State Fwy
4. 110 South
So, I closed the GPS app and drove on my merry way. As the the jazzy tunes surrounded me, my mind began to wander. I used to be pretty sluggish in the morning as I drive to work, but recently, my mind has been wide awake brimming with ideas and bubbling thoughts about my blog and new podcast. I started writing my blog and podcast posts in my mind, stringing one thought to the next, nonstop. But on that day, I was too caught up in my head, and after about 15 minutes, I realized I missed the CA-2 Glendale Fwy North exit.
Panic set in. Immediately, I turned on my GPS. I had no idea where to turn to next. It was nice chilly Friday morning, where traffic was not as bad as Tuesday to Thursday. I told myself, I won’t be late.
However, the sun started shining brighter, dispelling the cloudy shadows that usually follow me on my drives, blinding me from reading certain exit signs on the road. Before I knew it, I missed the new exit I was supposed to turn in to. (I do not think I have said this before, but I am not great with directions. I remember having to set my GPS on the same route every day for about a good number of weeks during my first year of teaching at my school site.)
As the GPS directed me to a another new exit to turn to, traffic increased. Twenty more minutes to go, the GPS read. Frustration gnawed at me. After five minutes, I saw the sign I needed to exit at and made my way there. However, the GPS changed directions again when I thought I took the exit, 19 minutes to go. Great, I just missed the third exit. I thought I turned into the exit, but apparently I did not move into the right lane far enough.
All of a sudden, I started seeing some strange familiar buildings. Oh no, I am heading back in the direction of home. I guess it was a wish come true–I turned back home instead of going to work.
I became increasingly agitated and turned up the volume of the GPS. Lord, I prayed, please guide me to work on time and not miss another exit. I think back to Gordan Ramsey’s Next Level Chef‘s episode where one of the contestants had already cooked two poor dishes that did not impress the judges and was intensely prepping her next level dish for round 3. There was no room for error.
15 more minutes. 16 more minutes. 14 more minutes. The arrival time on the GPS was changing every second as I drove on the last stretch of the 10 West Freeway. Gas. Brake. Gas. Brake. My ankle ached every second. I gripped the steering wheel tighter. The traffic was killing me.
Once I got off the freeway, I turned onto the correct street, slid into the nearest parking spot right at 7:45AM, locked my car, and ran up the stairs, while furiously navigating the Daily Pass on my phone to obtain my QR code I needed to enter onto campus.
As I ran to my classroom after signing in, I think back to the day before, when a colleague asked me, “Ready for the weekend? I’ve been ready for the weekend since Monday!”
Every moment, I ran, racing against the clock. I whipped out my computer and turned on the projector. I almost wanted to throw my backpack onto my teacher chair, but did not want my water bottle to spill. Everything was ready to go when the bell rang at 7:55AM. This was the latest I ever arrived at work.
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