The traffic on the 101 was as horrible as ever. For no apparent reason, every lane of the freeway would speed up to 30 or 40, then come to a complete stop just as quickly. It took me 20 minutes to drive 2 3/4 miles.
I thought, "I don't know how people do this every day, twice a day. This is soul-crushing."
Forty-five Minutes Earlier
I was starting to lose my voice. We'd been recording for close to four and a half hours, and that's about all I can do before I run out of energy. I finished the chapter, and took a drink of water.
The director's voice came through the small speaker on the table next to me. "Do you want to keep going, or do you think it's time to call it a day?"
"I want to know what happens next," I said, "but I think I'm done. I usually hit the wall around four hours."
"We're doing 80 pages a day, which is really good. I think we can go ahead and call it."
I picked up my keys and my phone. An LED flashed on the cover, telling me I had a text message. It was from Anne: Do you want to meet me for early dinner on your way home?
I thumbed to the compose screen, and told her that I had just finished, and I could meet her in about 25 minutes.
"Yay!" She replied.
"I'll be back at 10 tomorrow," I said to Tony, the Director. "Have a good evening."
"Really great work today, Wil," he said.
I squinted my eyes against the bright San Fernando Valley sunlight when I walked out of the studio. It was in the mid-80s, and I could tell that it had been a beautiful day. When I started my car, Van Halen was playing on the radio. I reflexively began to rock out, but by the second verse of Running With The Devil, my voice reminded me that I'd been using it all day. I cleared my throat and changed the station to NPR, which I listened to in silence the rest of my drive.
The traffic sucked, and the majority of other drivers didn't do much to help, with their speeding up and slamming on of brakes and changing lanes without signalling. I took a deep breath, and did my best to just be patient. When I finally got to the restaurant, I was ready to punch Lenny in the back of the head.
I walked inside, and saw my wife, sitting in the corner of the patio. She smiled and waved to me.
"How was your day?" She said.
"It was good," I said. I took a drink of her lemonade. It felt great on my tired vocal cords.
"I realized something while sitting in that horrible traffic on my way here," I said.
"I'm really lucky."
"You're lucky because you had to sit in traffic?"
"No, I'm lucky that I don't have to sit in traffic like this every day, twice a day, like so many other people. And all this week, I'm getting paid to read and perform a book I love. This is a good life."
The waitress came by, and I ordered a ginger lemonade of my own.