Hook up your Nintendo Wii. Strap into this video game. The drive to work has four levels. Success and safety at each level will advance you to the next level. Completion of all four levels will get you to work on time. Failure at any level and you’ll arrive late. Or die.
With one hand you control the stick-shift and turn the steering wheel. With the other hand, you hold your coffee cup. By the end of the first sip, you are ready to enter the highway. Easy does it. The speed limit here is 50, but most folks keep the speed up to 75.
Passing the Walmart on your right, the defunct auto mall on your left, you need to slow to 40. No, not 55 or 60! Officer Camacho is radar ready. Look for him in driveways. He hides anyplace. Don’t look too long though…Oh, you almost hit the pedestrian. Fortunately spilled coffee does not result in a penalty. A speed of fifty-three may get you a warning. Give him sass and Macho Camacho (aka “TicketMaster”) will write you up.
You made it through Mini Mall Canyon and into downtown. The speed limit increases. You leave the city behind, along with the city lights. The landscape opens up, as do you, up the hill to the top of the grade. Oh, no. While you were wiping the coffee off of your chin a pick-up truck spilled booms, beams and studs onto the highway. The darkness hides them. You go up on two wheels, slam back down, and cruise to the top of the grade in a state of shock. You advance to Level II.
Gravity tugs you down the grade to the table land. Moonlight bathes the basin, casting shadow on the foothills, reflecting off the snow-covered peak above the steering wheel. You sit solid on this road amidst this big beanbag of a universe. Lulled into daydreams, you fail to slow down when entering the next town. You blink and you are through town and spiraling down the next grade.
The drunk driver in the Yugo next to you wants to race. The truck driver behind you bears down on your bumper. You avoid the guard rail---moving the stick-shift like a drug addict with DT’s. You advance to Level III.
Wow. City lights are spread before you, blanketing everything to the base of the mountain. In the distance, the sky spread out like a sheet, bright pink, a flashlight behind it.
Pulling off the freeway, you crest the first bridge crossing the sand dunes. If a truck driver coming up the other side is asleep, you die. It is hard to tell with your eyes full of bright light from the oncoming car; but aren’t they presently in your lane?
Sand blows and swirls, dancing in your headlamps. It clatters on your windshield, obscuring your views of the oncoming traffic. The road widens as you reach the main city. You advance to the next level.
“Safety,” you think. A major city with good lighting, two-lane roads and traffic-signals; a major city with a population of tourists and retired folk. Beware the car in front of you. Why can’t you enter the parking lot from the left lane? Behind you, is that a police car? Taxi---and he obviously is not planning on entertaining the yellow light.
You pull into your employer’s parking lot on time. Congratulations. You have completed level IV. You stroll into work, facing customers with light-blindness and veins flowing with coffee and adrenaline.