Light Morning Traffic Makes Commuter Feel Alive

Tim Laetner, software engineer, became "vibrant and excited to be alive" when his morning drive into the office went swiftly and unhampered by pesky traffic, say sources close to him.

Typically a over a 50 minute commute, it took Laetner, 31, only 42 minutes to get from his driveway to the parking lot of Dextronics Inc. where he shared with many co-workers the positive experience of the expedited 32 mile drive.

"Tim was clearly energized," said boss Stan Winfield. "Sometimes in the morning I'll see him upset or depressed, and I'll say to him, 'Tim, buddy, what's the matter?' and he'll tell me, 'Traffic has me down, man.'" Winfield paused to adjust his tie and check his hair in the reflection in his computer screen before going on to say, "He was like a new man today, and it was a good thing to see."

While spending over $2,000 a year on gas, and an additional $1,000 on vehicle upkeep and maintenance, Laetner described the sacrifices he makes to get into work as being, "Totally worth it," explaining how the dehumanizing effects of monotony, morning and evening rush-hour traffic, and repetition in the work place can sometimes be completely wiped away by a swift journey to the office he lovingly refers to as "Absalom".

"On days like this [with no traffic], I'll sometimes crack my window and feel the breeze in my hair," said Laetner, "though not too much breeze, because I can't show up to work with messy hair – it says so in the policy manual."

In addition to carefully allowing the wind to ruffle his hair, Laetner also indulges his "wilder" musical side on these low traffic days.

"Maybe I'll even put in a really far-out and edgy CD like ‘The Who's Greatest Hits'," he said with a mischievous grin, "and I'll just think to myself, ‘This is what it's all about.'"

Smiling to himself, Laetner further explained that when he puts his "pedal to the metal" and gets into work before anyone else is when he feels the most fulfilled and sure of his purpose in life.

"There's just something about walking into the office and smelling it before any of the people with body odor problems just severe enough to bother you but not so much that you're compelled to say something and create an uncomfortable work environment come in," he said, inhaling deeply as if in remembrance.

A light-traffic ride to work isn't everything, though; according to Laetner, the ride home can be equally, if not more perilous, than morning rush-hour. He stated that if the after-work commute is as easy and quick as the journey he'd had in the morning that it would be, "one of the greatest days of my life."

"I've even got ‘I Feel Free' cued up in my CD player for the ride," he proudly announced to cheers from a few fellow co-workers.

Psychologists and mental health experts see Laetner not as an exception but part of a burgeoning population that is succeeding in not only finding shortcuts to the office, but to joy and fulfillment. Says therapist and award-winning author Luscious Redenbocker:

"Values are changing in this modern world, and people are beginning to value the small things in life. Whereas only a decade ago when it took a house, a car, a dog, a healthy child and a nice little nest egg to make a person happy, nowadays satisfaction and fulfillment can be found in all kinds of places, including a four-lane superhighway amongst thousands of other drones, provided they're traveling at 70 mph, minimum."

Stepping outside for a cigarette, Redenbocker added, "And if that doesn't work, there's still the old good-shit-and-a-hot-cup-of-coffee to cure what ails you."

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