Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sadistic choices

One of the times I miss my old home town — Omaha, Nebraska — is when I'm driving to/from work.

My last job there was two miles from my front door straight down Blondo Street; with clear traffic, it was seven minutes door-to-door.  In rush hour, twelve.  And Omaha's not exactly a teeny-weeny burg, either: population 415,068 by last year's estimate, with just over 877 thousand in the eight counties comprising the metropolitan area and just over 1.2 million people within a 50-mile radius.  So while it's still possible to get from one side of the city to the other in twenty-five minutes, the roads have to be relatively clear and you have to be able to use the I-680 loop.

Not so here in the D-FW metroplex.  I live in Denton and work in Carrollton.  If I leave at 6:30 am, I can stop at BK for a Croissan'wich, stop at QT for a refill on my coffee and still be at work before 7:30 strikes.  If I leave at 6:45, there's every possibility that I won't even be able to glance at QT as I scream by to get to work just fifteen minutes late.  Does anybody else wonder why we fill our megalopoli with huge, multi-lane, limited-access freeways in order to pile them up with cars going 10 mph?

The sadistic choice is not whether I exit at Business 121 and pass through a couple of school zones or stick with Stemmons in the hope that the dogpile will break up and I'll have a quick shot at George Bush (the toll road, not the ex-prez) ... that's a masochistic choice.  No, I just thought I'd give you a glimpse at how I occupy my mind while slowly surging down the jam-packed freeway.

Let's say you're condemned to hell.  Satan, in his infernal sadism, gives you two options on how to spend your eternity:
  1. Eternal isolation.  Absolute nothing.  You're perfectly aware, perfectly sensate ... and perfectly alone.  You have all your obsessions, all your desires and all your longings, and no way of satisfying any of them.  There's no one to hear you weep, plead, rant or reason.  There's nothing to stand on, nothing to hold on to, nothing to touch; you can't even hear the sound of your own voice, let alone anything else.  And because there's no time to pass, there is no end to this symphony of silence, no time to get used to it, no feeling of descent or ebb or flow.  For all eternity.
  2. An endless series of current-events debates, with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh teamed up against Maureen Dowd and Dan Savage.  Moderated by Sandra Fluke.
Hmm ... the choice is still a little too clear ....

[N.B.: I hasten to add that I do not and cannot know whether any of the aforementioned will be doomed to perdition.  Let us grant, causa argumenti, that Satan's demons can do reasonable imitations.]