I Love the Smell of Brake Pads in the Morning (Commute)

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I’m late for work at least once a week, and it’s my car’s fault.

This cannot be ascribed to any mechanical malady or intolerance of cold or inactivity. Rather, it is due to a simple duality. There are two ways to get from my apartment to my office – the direct route or, to paraphrase Robert Frost, the road less traveled.

The direct route takes less than ten minutes, most of that waiting at a succession of traffic lights which, in best California tradition, are inevitably red. It’s a frustrating exercise in not rear-ending the Prius in front as it creeps off the line, while simultaneously ignoring the lifted pickup six inches behind (and three feet above) my bumper.

The alternate route traverses a series of small office parks. It has stop signs instead of lights, gently curving roads, and almost no traffic. This alone would be reason enough to use it, a chance to enjoy the sun and cool morning breeze before I’m unceremoniously stuffed back into my cubicle.

Halfway along though is the real reason for my occasional tardiness. A brief straight tightens into a moderate left then sweeps right before a short and exceedingly bumpy braking zone for yet another stop sign. If no one else is around and you’re feeling brave, a tap of the brakes before the first corner suffices, and the left/right can be taken at full throttle and at what may be considered an eye-widening speed for the aforementioned Prius. The approach to the stop sign is the sternest test for both man and machine; a textbook exercise in threshold braking and suspension control.

Forget coffee, forget energy drinks; if you want to feel alive in the morning, you need an S2000.

Has your car ever inspired you to take the road less traveled, even to the most lackluster destinations?

Photo courtesy of Nate03

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