For nearly 2 hours, I had battled the long, slow creep through at least 4 major commuting choke points in the region, now listening to the beginning of a 2nd cycle of NPR news before swapping to something else fresher and more lively – perhaps Howard or the Junkies. At this point in the drive, I was starting to think through options for a “piss-cup” – i.e. how to relieve oneself in the car without access to bathrooms or a convenient exit from the traffic. A much more common problem among commuters than you’d think, men and women both. ‘Nuff said.
The giant travel coffee mug with the lost lid was long cold, with a little spilled on my shirt – my well-worn blackberry had ceased its morning deluge of emails and spam, and I read them all here in the car, with the blackberry tethered to the computer tethered to the inverter tethered to the cigarette-lighter for an extra boost of juice.
Happy, fit co-eds bounded by the canal jogging path, as my pals in the traffic watched and secretly lusted – for them, for their lifestyle, for their fresh air, for their age. After arriving at the secure Gov’t work location, displaying all my badges and face to the proper scanners, depositing my links to the Internet and outside world in little cubbies, and finding my way to the toasted tar that used to be a fresh coffee pot, I happened upon a clacker-co-worker, also seeking a boost to the caffeine maintenance that started 3 hours previously.
We compared notes about the traffic, whether or not our hapless clients would actually work today, and that morning’s Dilbert…and then I noticed it. My office mate was exhibiting loopwear….which I define as the wearing out of posterior belt loops due to several years of abrasion commuting to work in the car”…Sure enough, his back belt loops were revealing the white of the underlying fabric – and upon quick inspection, so were mine. On the one hand, this revelation immediately started the wheels turning, and many more conversations, about inventions, new business opportunities, and the success or not of our previous invention-forays, but this revelation also crystallized the utter, pathetic nature of our clacker, image and pants-destroying lifestyle. Our lunch conversations also tended to more quickly and frequently turn to opportunities for life outside the government IT world, outside the endless commute, and outside the need for office wear belt-loop maintenance or protection.
Loopwear the liberator.