Some mornings there’s a song that I think about. I first heard it on my drive to work, when I used to drive for an hour to complete the first leg of my two-hour commute. It’s pop-country. It’s twangy and upbeat. It can be annoying.

But I love this song, because the opening four lines make me laugh (primarily at myself) every time. Not only is it so, so true, but it happens. And I know it doesn’t just happen to me.

It goes like this:

Missed my alarm clock ringin’, woke up telephone screamin’
Boss man singin’ his same old song
Rolled in late about an hour, no cup of coffee, no shower
Walk of shame with two different shoes on

I have never gone to work with two different shoes on, and my boss has never called to inquire about my tardiness, and I’ve never actually been late to work. But the point is: I am always a disheveled bundle of stress scurrying to work in the morning, and this song makes me laugh about it.

In fact, my morning routine upon arriving at work is what most people do before they leave the house in the morning and it usually involves:

1. Put bag at desk, log in to computer.

2. Make a stop at the bathroom to wash hands (metro germs!).

3. Put on make-up in the bathroom, hopefully before saying good morning to anyone.

4. Adjust wardrobe; Add sweater and belt from tote bag stash, remove cat hair from clothing with scotch tape.

5. On rainy or winter days, change out of boots into acceptable shoes.

6.  Return to desk as if I walked into work put together.

Here is a bad video of the song “It Happens” by Sugarland, if you would like to get the full effect. I think it has a good, light-hearted message that is necessary to keep in mind when you get caught up in the nine-to-five-rush-around-look-important-and-busy phenomenon in this area. Enjoy!


For almost two years now, the speedometer in my car has been malfunctioning. More often than not, roughly 90% of the time, it rests at zero. Sometimes, just for the fun of it I think, it fluctuates up and down from 20-ish to 70-ish and back again. You might ask why, if it’s been doing this for two years, I haven’t gotten it fixed. Well, among other reasons, because it’s entertaining. And I think it might actually be healthy.

When I’m in traffic – usually driving up 66 in the morning – I get tense. My heart beats faster, I grip the steering wheel with anger in my fists, and my cheeks get flushed with rage. Sometimes I shout, or calmly have conversations with the [horrible] drivers around me. I’ve been known to bang on my steering wheel or impatiently drum my fingers on the horn, although I’ve never actually honked at someone.

I get this way because it angers me to know that I could legally be going about 63 miles per hour, but the sheer volume of traffic has set me to a cruise of barely 40.

But on days when my speedometer doesn’t wake up for the morning drive, and it’s stuck at zero, there is a noticeable difference in my behavior. I just cruise along with traffic, occasionally change lanes when the one I’m in stops, but generally maintain a passive driving stance. Of course I know I’m not going 63 mph, because that only happens when gridlock doesn’t exist. But I have no idea how fast I actually am going, so there is no clout to my argument with the guy in the van in front of me who may or may not be going 5 below the speed limit.

I noticed this just this morning. When I finally parked at Vienna metro, I wasn’t angry. My forehead wasn’t hurting from keeping my brow furrowed for an hour. My cheeks weren’t sore from scowling. I wasn’t still yelling at my windshield.

Could my broken speedometer be the key to my health? I’m sure it’s already lowered my blood pressure.

Maybe, for gridlock drivers with a high risk for heart disease, there should be a dashboard button that turns off your speedometer. Imagine all the heart strain and stress wrinkles they would save. Perhaps it would mean they’re able to take fewer pills.  I think this button could save lives.

But I don’t need a button. My speedometer is saving my life without instigation, and I am grateful for it. And this is why I have yet to buy a new car.