Somehow the drive in to work this morning didn’t feel any different even though it was over two weeks ago that I made the trip. Part of that, I realize, is that most of my commute to work is along familiar streets, streets that I travel down regularly even when I’m not going to work. So this morning, even though it was the coldest it’s been all winter, there were the same people taking their dogs for a walk through the neighborhood. Once I turned onto the main road there was about the same amount of traffic that it seems to get at any time of day, or night. Maybe there’s some time when the number of cars drops off but it’s a time when I’m not out driving. There were the usual businesses: the fast food places that were doing a steady business, the more upscale restaurants that probably weren’t open but still had their signs lit, and various other businesses that, well, I don’t know what they do so any time I pass them I can’t tell whether they’re open or closed. There’s that one spot where a group of construction workers is always crossing the street on their way to the job site, and I realize there’s a long stretch between traffic lights but even in their orange vests I wish they could find a better, safer place to cross five lanes of traffic. There are the other construction sites where they’ve closed off the sidewalks and have blocked off at least one lane which makes me wonder why I always choose to go the same way when a slightly longer route would probably take the same amount of time, but the force of habit is a powerful thing, especially early in the morning when, even after showering, getting dressed, and having coffee, not to mention being subjected to an arctic blast, my brain still isn’t fully functioning.
That would explain why, even though I should have known better, I still turned the corner and found the same delivery truck parked and taking up the entire left lane next to the mini-mart across the street from my office building, forcing me to take the center lane until I cross the intersection and have only a few feet to get back into the left lane.
As usual I parked on the roof of the parking garage—the sole car up there, but I’ll have a warm car to return to in the afternoon.
The ride down in the parking garage elevator was the same, the walk through the lobby of my building was the same, and the ride up in the office building elevator was the same. There was the same coworker in her cubicle by the door—I hope she just happens to always arrive before me and isn’t here twenty-four hours a day—and she gave me the same friendly wave.
I can’t explain why I expected things to be different. It’s a new year, I feel like I’ve been away much longer than just two weeks, and somehow I feel like a different person.
When I left I had successfully almost cleaned out my email inbox. I think I had ten messages that I planned to get to when I got back. This morning I had thirty-seven thousand new messages. Well, that is something new, even if most of it was the same old junk.