Friday, April 15, 2005

The Designated Screamer

As I sat in bumper to bumper traffic yesterday, I felt a disturbing surge of emotion come over me. It wasn't the usual low, throaty growl that typically escapes my lips when travelling the 405. Nope. It wasn't even the misty-eyed wuss who emerges during TV commercials for hair products. Not that, either. What crept across my face was a smile. Curious, since my eyes would suggest the moment just before driving over the cliff. A tad incongruous. I opened the car windows, in a futile attempt to channel extra oxygen and calm myself. That's when it hit me: the scream. Loud, prolonged and a sound that would give Wes Craven the creeps. I checked myself in the rearview mirror - closed mouth, so couldn't be me. Whew. Still not completely disconnected from my brain. To my left, a man in an SUV was on his cellphone. Except he wasn't having a conversation. For a full 8 seconds, John Doe vented. And vented well. His chin thrust foward as his head performed a slow-mo jig of agony. Ever so slightly, I could feel my smile returning. Not a mad smile this time. Rather a simple smile of contentment. Aaah. I wondered if other drivers found it cathartic to have someone else scream for them for a change. Lord knows I've done it for him in the past. The remainder of my journey was equally slow. My speedo needle barely flickered. I could have walked faster. But no ulcer. John Doe saved me. So here's a big "shout out" to John. And as you venture onto the roads this weekend and the coming week, may you also be blessed by the designated screamer.

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