On Sunday January 1, 2006. I spent about 35 minutes on the New York State Thruway creeping along at between 5 and 10 miles per hour. An accident had happened up the road and everybody was at a crawl. It was pretty uneventful (for those of us not in the accident). I was by myself listening to the radio. I switched between WPDH, a classic rock station, and a boring and meaningless week 16 Bears vs Vikings game (a game they should replay in Hell’s waiting room just to warm you up).

After about 20 minutes I was startled by a car racing down the right shoulder of the highway. Five minutes later another sped by. No lights so they weren’t cops or rescue personal; at least I didn’t think so. But it got me thinking (and dreaming of following them). What would it take for a person to drive down the shoulder of the NYS Thruway? Late for dinner? Late for a wedding? Late for a business meeting? What would it take? Even frustrated and bored I wasn’t doing anything as anti-social and vaguely dangerous as driving in the breakdown lane. On the way to the hospital I might do some crazy driving. To catch a plane? Stuart airport was in the other direction so no one was rushing to a flight. What would it take? Having never driven on a highway’s shoulder in the middle of a traffic jam I have no answer. But I do wonder what would make me do that.