Capital Beltway Before 6 A.M.? Can You Say “Noir”?

Saturday morning….time to rummage through the box’o weeks worth of “wtf’s” and “hurrays” and etched on grimaces of “damn!” and “cool!” cuz ya know, it’s TToT time. I guess you could say it’s tea time :D…

…been many an hour since I hit the Beltway on my morning commute. In the dark. Before 6:00 a.m.  I refer to driving the Washington DC Capital Beltway at that hour as “cowboy” driving. Why? Excluding the 2 express lanes to the left (if you’re not in ’em, they don’t count), you’ve got a solid 4 lanes (don’t count the oncoming/outgoing lanes unless one or more cars in those lanes appear to be driving into you) of traffic.

When traffic is “light” (rush hour in a smaller city) and vehicles of a number that allows for “free range” driving (driving at speed and above!) pretty much all bets are off. Speed is a factor… for everyone. I admit to hitting speeds 15 miles (or so) over the speed limit. (btw, I don’t want to confuse anyone with “video game” driving which only occurs during evening commuting hours.) This morning was no exception. Who needs caffeine when you’re “cowboy” driving?

I walked out of the morning routine and the front door into the crisp embrace of dry, 30 something degree air. Lifting my head I looked up, around and marvelled at the brightly starred sky cradling the night’s crescent moon. Tilted ever so slightly, it appeared to recede reluctantly, not wanting to give in to the earth’s rotation.

With a double click, car doors were open, bags and body in.. I took my place behind the wheel and strapped myself in with not a clue as to what would transpire in the next 30 minutes.

I don’t know if it was the speed at which I was driving combined with the headlights of oncoming traffic on the other side of the highway or the glare of headlights behind me…but there came a weird, odd moment when I realized, felt myself, traveling in another place and time. Did time just suspend itself?

Metal box on wheels and me? One and the same. Glancing in the rearview, I left Tyson’s Corner, billboard bright office buildings consuming the skyline with it’s rush of human traffic, it’s busy, busy let me on, let me off, ramps…behind. In pre-dawn silence the bright, whitewashed lane markers splashed onto new blacktop rushing by so fast my eyes were transfixed. And it was so-o-o quiet (yes, even with the radio on). It was the quiet of pre-dawn…

I swear I might have been driving with David Lynch riding shotgun. He’s the first one that came to mind…can’t quite find the words to express the total “noir” of the moment, of that morning 🙂 But I was convinced, I knew, my body knew, what it was these guys of the “noir” genre of filmmaking were all about. Cool.

Now how’s about those thankfuls….

1) New Quentin Tarantino movie out Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve! The Hateful Eight. Samuel L. as a cowboy! Yeegads! Can’t wait!! 😀

2) New Coen Brothers movie out February 3, 2016!! “Nuff said.

3) A reliable car in which to enjoy any and all types of driving no matter where (or when) I am!

4) The generosity of friends and family!

5) The weather. Again, it appears, with the exception of this weekend, that atypical warm will be with us for the upcoming holiday!

6) Reminders….of cirmcumstance. How it boils down to one’s perspective!

7) the Wakefield Doctrine (#6 was totally an unintentional segue into this one, I swear!)

8) Music!

9) An invitation to go to Christmas Eve mass (that totally came out of left field!)

10) Today! My only day.

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23 thoughts on “Capital Beltway Before 6 A.M.? Can You Say “Noir”?

  1. valj2750

    Who needs caffeine when you’re cowboy driving. Love that sentence. I give you so much credit for that commute. Glad you could experience the noir as one with noir. Zen and the Art of the Capital Beltway Commute might be another way to describe it. Merry Christmas, Denise.

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  2. Christine

    Driving in DC is horrible. And Chicago. And Baltimore. Seriously, most any big city stinks, but DC is really bad. I bet it is nice to cowboy drive every once in a while.
    Driving at odd, dark hours when no one is on the normally packed roads is very surreal. I totally get what you’re talking about.

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  3. Perspective. Perspective. All so different and so vital.

    I drove in the early dark this morning. It was weird. But in times gone by I’ve done that thing where I drive and then don’t know how I got there.

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  4. no, I stand corrected, this theme is not too dark and difficult to read (“then, having laminated the unlikely leaves us only the unfortunate conclusion, my eyesight!” Esai Holmes and the Mystery of the Difficult Problem’)

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  5. I don’t think I even saw the invite for the chat – and I was all prepared to sign in from my remote location, too! I missed it. Boo.
    The thing I’m stuck on – there’s a new Coen Brothers’ movie? How did I miss that? Oh, yeah, living under a rock lately…
    And what you said about perspective – it is definitely the thing that makes a difference for me.

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  6. Kristi

    I think my most cowboy moment of driving came on a snowy day. We do get snow here in the desert every year or two, but not usually any real accumulation. Anyway, this particular time, we had a good 6 inches or so. NO ONE was on the unplowed roads–except me. My kids were so concerned: “Mom, how do you even know where the road is?!” I had no clue where my lane was, but I knew the road was between the light poles! 🙂

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