Friday, April 20, 2012

My dirty little secret

I have a dirty little secret.

Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I love my commute.

There, I said it. And, I don’t mean my commute from the house to the mailbox like I used to do when I worked from home.

No, I mean my commute all the way to the big ATL and back. Yes, I drive to Atlanta almost every day now to write for a big corporation.

When I tell people locally that I make that trek each day, their mouths hang open, and I see them try to find something positive to say. Failing to do so, I see the look of recognition as they remember how their mamas said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I then watch as they snap their mouths shut again. Usually after this they give me a look of pity and shake their heads. I used to try to convince them it wasn’t that bad, but when gasoline is almost $4 a gallon, there’s not much I can say.

But the truth about my commute is, I like it. To me, it’s kind of like eating lunch by yourself. People walk by and give you a look as if to say “That poor guy (or girl). He has no one to share a meal with. He must be terribly lonely.”

When the reality is, that person gets to eat a nice, quiet meal in peace. He can eavesdrop on others. He can let his mind wander. He can double dip in the salsa. See, not so bad.

The same is true of my commute. Though I don’t eat salsa in the car, I can listen to the music I want as loud as I want. For some that may mean rap, but, for me, it’s often some folksy bluegrass tune that my husband can’t stand. Or even the deep, distinctive voice of Mark Knopfler, whom my son declared as “a terrible singer” one day as I was listening in the car.

Speaking of terrible singers, the best part of my commute is during my drive time alone, I am not one of them. I sing like I’m trying out for “The Voice,” the reality television show in which singers compete. Just ask my husband. He knows, because once I accidentally called him during such a performance. Amazingly, he never mentioned it.

I only knew because he kept the recording on his phone and happened to let it play when I was in the room. “Ooooh, oooh, oooh, oooh, oooooh!”

“What is that howling sound?” I asked.

When his laughter died down, I realized. It was me singing a Norah Jones’ song. Hey, I said I sang like I was trying out for “The Voice.” I didn’t say anyone turned around and chose me for his or her team.

But, my fellow commuters don’t judge. They are too busy racing to get to their jobs to notice the lone girl wailing her heart out as she drives up the road.

“Why don’t you ride in the van pool?” my friend asked.

“No, thank you,” I said. Tomorrow, I’m riding with Etta James.