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Observations From a Morning Commute


©8/12, Federico Fellini.

There are three things every American wants: a larger pay, fewer hours, and a shorter commute.

When we’re little, we think we can grow up and become anything we want to be. But, each year as we grow older, we hear another door closing and another opportunity slipping away.

Instead of growing up and fulfilling our dreams, we grow up to become office workers, retail clerks, and busboys.

Work hard and you’ll get the house, the car, and the cat. But where’s my American Dream?

The truth is, money and opportunity are incestuous. The world is run by insurance companies and military contractors. This is a country for and by the rich.

The world belongs to trust fund babies and kids born on platforms. They are sent to the good schools, and receive degrees from the renowned universities. Everything belongs to the kids who get the internship and the job in the corporation. “You have to know someone to get in,” they say.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I mean, what did you really want to be? Well, that’s what rich kids become.

There’s the rich and there’s the rest of us. For the rest of us, growing up means choosing between pursuing our dreams or choosing the comforts of middle class security.

Middle class security means working a job we hate, living in quarters that are too small, and driving a car that is in constant need of repairs. It means unaffordable health insurance and being saddled with debt.

Middle class security is constantly telling ourselves that one day we’ll cheat demographics and move up from the class we were born in. It means convincing ourselves that one day we’ll win the lottery, make a killing on an investment, or work hard enough to get a job with a light schedule and a large salary.

Middle class security means settling. Working a job we hate. And having a miserable commute.

We aren’t even middle class, are we? We are working class.

This country was built by the working class. The middle class. The underclass.

We built this country through hard labor, slave labor, prison labor, and low wage employment.

Working class Americans work longer hours and get less vacation time than workers in all other industrialized nations.

We are taught to be docile workers and eager consumers. The rich want us to fight amongst ourselves while they drive up the cost of rent, raise interest rates, and make it harder for us and our families to survive.

The worst form of control is one so deeply rooted we are unaware of its constraints.

Every morning I drive into a job I hate.

I am always stuck in traffic on the pothole laden failure of Obama’s recovery. I’m nearly run off the road by speedsters, rear-ended by texters, and T-boned by pick-ups.

How does life become one’s job?

Every day, I feel like Alexander falling at the feet of Caesar’s statue. How did my greatest success become measured by how many minutes I can shave off my mid-morning rush?

I know there’s a secret road somewhere. One that runs parallel to my commute. There’s no traffic. No red lights.

Stuck here, I hope to hit enough speed, pull back on the clutch, and send my car airborne – flying over the whole heaping mess.

I’m flipped off, cursed out, my muffler rattles, passing cars make me seethe with rage, the gas tank burns itself empty, and if I can just make it to the weekend –  everything will be okay.

When we were kids, we would play games like tag or capture and there was always a base we could go to where no one could ever touch us. For an adult, the weekend is like that.


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