My stressful commute almost got the best of me sitting at home

4 mins read


A good friend of mine called the other day on her way home from work. She was once again commuting on one of the worse beltways in the country – Washington DC’s I-495.

This is a road that has a 15-hour “rush hour.” And it turns into a parking lot quite frequently.

Maureen and I had not talked for a couple of months, so she wanted to catch up with me on the holidays – Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

We chatted about our kids, her job, and the old neighborhood we used to share. Normally, I love chatting with this woman, but the ride on the beltway that evening was horrendous, and I felt like I was with her.

“Are you okay chatting on the phone with me while you’re on 495?” I asked, after she screamed into the phone, “You idiot, get off my bumper!”

“No,” she replied to me. “I’m fine. I am on my blue tooth and it is like you are in the car with me.”

She made a good point. So, I sat back in my chair with a hot cup of tea and relaxed. Then I heard,

“You Jerk! For God’s sake, stay in your own lane. You are going to kill someone!”

I immediately ascertained that I was NOT the jerk she was talking to, however her switch from “The boys are doing great and sports have started up again.” to “You jerk!” was startling to me.

The oft-interrupted conversation, with blasts of profanity, was unnerving. Maybe it was because she was reminding me of some of my own harrowing commutes, especially on rainy dark nights or snowy mornings.

For those of you who had to commute on any metropolitan beltway, I am sure you can relate. Have I now become so removed from that environment that I have forgotten how horrible commuting used to be?

One idiot driving 90 miles an hour and cutting in and out of traffic can terrify you. Then there are the accidents. A fatal accident on the beltway could mean hours sitting there waiting for all the ambulances, fire trucks, and police.

When she finally got off the beltway and was close to her home, I felt myself relaxing. That is when I heard her horn blasting and her yelling “You do NOT make a left-hand turn from a right-hand lane, YOU EXPLETIVE!”

Followed by “Hey, it was great catching up! Say ‘hi’ to your hubby.”

After she hung up, I sat there in my chair with my cold cup of tea. My husband walked in and asked, “What’s wrong? You looked stressed.”

I looked at him wearily and replied, “It was a miserable commute today, … and Maureen said ‘hello.’”

Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career. A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Scott now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She lives on St. Helena Island and enjoys boating, traveling and reading.

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