Here's what this is: It takes EXACTLY 17 minutes for me to get from the entrance ramp of the freeway near my house to the machine at my work where employees swipe in. I know this because I have made the drive roughly 1,400 times during my seven years of employment. I also know this because I have, on countless occasions, created playlists to most effectively maximize those 17 minutes (the pre-work playlist is absolutely vital, trust).
Yesterday though, man, fuck yesterday.
For reasons that still remain unclear, there was a tremendous backup on the freeway. I didn't know about it until I got on at 6:40 a.m. (I'd planned on getting to work early to prep for the day), at which point gravity sucked me into what has to rate as the worst traffic jam in American history*. This is a recreation** of the 43 minutes I sat nearly still while the heroes fixed whatever tragedy it was that was causing everyone to be late to work.
Context: It's cold and raining and my driver's side window is stuck open (it hasn't worked since my car was stolen). My cell phone is dead. And my wallet is in my pants at home. All of my straits were totes dire, as it were. So now you know. We'll start right around the time that hope had been squished out by God's awful, vengeful thumb, right about when I was considering getting out and asking someone to drive over my head.
*Actually, fun fact: In 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced a significant portion of Houstonians out of the city. The mass exodus actually did result in one of the worst traffic jams in history. It took several hours for us to move a handful of miles. It was not very much fun at all.
**I consulted the radio station's playlist history for help figuring out when they played certain songs.
6:54: They're playing Young Jeezy's blindingly brilliant “Put On” from 2008's The Recession. Good. So at least if this is the last moment of my life, it'll be proper soundtracked.
6:54:15: It kind of feels like Jeezy never quite got the recognition he's deserved, though I cannot deny that I may feel that way because I am absolutely madly in love with him.
Prior to being a writer I worked as a “warranty specialist” for a major construction company. Basically, I was assigned a hundred or so newly built homes and had to inspect them anytime someone living in one of them felt like something was wrong. I'd assumed I was going to be fixing all sorts of serious problems -cracked foundations, improper framing, plumbing explosions, dead bodies in the wall, etc. Mostly though I just did a lot of crawling around in attics trying to figure out why someone's shitty daughter's room wasn't cold enough.
At any rate, I spent a fair amount of my time there trying to convince several of my co-workers that Young Jeezy was better than anything they were listening to (construction superintendents at that company are/were almost exclusively white guys between 28 and 38-years-old, so they were all SUPER into either Creed or Creedence Clearwater Revival). I remember I even made a poster for my office door that read, “Patty cake, patty cake, microwave,” a line from Jeezy's “And Then What” (and maybe the greatest rap lyric of all to make mention of a device that cooks food via electromagnetic waves). One of my managers (construction companies fucking LOVE managers) saw it and asked what it was. I explained that it was a lyric from a song I liked. He asked which one. I told him. He asked me to take it down pretty quick.
I quit that job in July of 2005. If I had any balls at all I would've walked into the main office with a boombox, played that shit at SUPERVOLUME, then like, “Peace, bitches!” I don't though, so my departure mostly involved me thanking them for letting me work there. Suck.
They cut the song off before Kanye's part. OH MY GOD IS THIS EVEN LIFE OR AM I ALREADY IN HELL?
If you're a DJ and you don't play Kanye's part in that song then I hope only terrible things ever happen to you for the rest of all of everything.
7:09: Knock knock. Who's there? Traffic jam. FUCK YOU, TRAFFIC JAM.
7:17: Didn't Doc and Michael J. Fox say we'd have flying cars by now? What the hell, bro? Fuck you too, Parkinson's Disease.
7:18: “Ball”! YES. All of this song. So good. Even the suddenly intolerable Lil Wayne is enjoyable here. High energy, totally unstoppable, can-packed ratchetness. TI is king. I hope this traffic jam lasts FOREVER. We're best friends right now, me and this traffic jam. Even the video is great. ESPECIALLY the video. I mean, there's a guy in a wheelchair dancing in the first seven seconds of it. Has that ever not been great? No is the answer you're looking for.
See also: The Best Rap Singles of 2012
You should see how hard I'm twerking in this car right now. It's unbelievable. I'm about to wear the shit out of this car seat. I might accidentally start a friction fire.
7:18:15: BTW, it is never not funny to tell people that you're good at twerking. Like, not ever. It's even funny to accuse other people of it. Twerking is the best.
7:19: “I'm a good-looking rapper.” -Lil Wayne, telling the biggest of lies
7:19:30: “I'm killing these hoes like that nigga Ted Bundy.” -Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne, everyone!
7:21: 🙁 song over. i hate you again, traffic jam. go somewhere and die. infinite sad faces.
7:22: Word. It's Rihanna's “Pour It Up.” Tough stuff. Remember when Rihanna was just a blindingly talented Barbadian and not the (apparently) super slimy (but still blindingly talented Barbadian) person she's (apparently) morphed into? Man.
I remember having a conversation around the seventh grade with one of my uncles about a girl I liked that had not, in the two or so years of me attempting to get her to like me back, ever even bothered to show that she knew I existed. His response was reflexive: “Just show her your Texas rattlesnake, boy. She'll notice you then.” (I didn't because remember I don't have any balls — or, in this case, I guess I did and I just didn't think anyone would enjoy seeing them.) I imagine someone gave Chris Brown that exact same advice when he talked about liking Rihanna. There's just nothing anyone can say to convince me that he didn't, in the earliest stages of their relationship, surprise her by pulling out his penis. That just has to have had happened.
ARE WE MOVING?
ARE WE STARTING TO MOVE?!
PRAISE THE LO–
No. Never mind.
Some jackass just waited a few extra moments before moving so then it seemed like all the space in the world was in front of me. That shit is the worst.
I thought we were rolling. We're not. I'm going to keep trying to use my brain to disintegrate these rolling metal robots all around my car.
7:27: Alicia Keys, “Brand New Me.” Dude. Total downer. In the summers, I teach a creative writing class. As part of the curriculum, we go over writing about music. I have them review whatever songs are the most popular on the radio. The kids will almost always include some sort of word play on whatever the title of the song is. I'm certain where I to play this one for them they'd write something about, “Ugh. Brand new me? Maybe you should go back to the old you. JAJAJAJA.”
7:30: I mean, is every car in America on this road right now?
7:31: They're on the radio describing the traffic jam. “We can see it from right outside the window. It's bad.” You're a funny guy, God. Totes.
7:33: My blood is black. I can feel it. It's angry. Angry blood.
7:35: Raise your hand if you also pretend that the parking brake handle isn't a parking brake handle and is instead a trigger that shoots lasers from the grill of your car.
7:36: There better be 50 motherfuckers dead up here.
7:36:04: I didn't mean that. Sorry, universe.
7:37: OMG This has to be how Michael Douglas felt in Falling Down.
7:40: Big Sean, “Dance.” I kind of love this song, but the real version and not this cleaned up version. It really feels like if there were ju–
WE'RE MOVING! WE'RE FREE! EMANCIPATED FROM THE CONCRETE PRISON! BIG SEAN AND NICKI MINAJ TWERKED THE TRAFFIC FREE!
GOD PRAISE BIG SEAN.