Thursday, October 20, 2005

Steve Broke Up With Janet Via An Overpass Day

Steve Broke Up With Janet Via An Overpass Day!

Tonight at 5 PM, everyone's going to see it. Everyone with a 9 to 5 and a bitch of a commute is going to know. Janet's heart is going to break two miles deep in the heavy logjam leading into the Jackson St turnabout.

Spraypainted in valentine red across the expanse of the Turner Blvd overpass: "It's over Janet. I can't stay on the turnpike with you anymore. I'm hitting the expressway. Also, the sex has been pretty blech lately, am I right? Steve."

Janet won't call the house or his cell. She won't whip out her blackberry to see if there's an addendum there telling her what she can expect to find when she gets home. She'll know what is waiting for her. She'll sit in the dead-still traffic jam, staring up at her goodbye, and cataloging everything that's his, creating the vision in her head of all those negatives. In her vision, there will be blank white spots where his things used to be. Where he pulled a book off a shelf or a shirt off a hanger, white nothing so glaring the color of it hums. Her whole house will be humming when she gets there.

The easy smile on her face will be unshakable. He won't do this to her. These people are her fellow commuters. They've shared this traffic jam with her every evening for seven years now. They've stared across the lanes at her behind her wheel, wondering where she's coming from and where she's headed, what she's wearing underneath that skirt and what she's going to watch on TV tonight. They will not look over to find her crying into her hands and learn that she is the one whose relationship just ended on the side of an overpass.

She'll feel their eyes search her and her car's interior for any signs of disturbance. Like soldiers hunting down holdouts. She'll feel like they can see it, but that's silly. They know the make and model of her car and that sometimes she sings without being aware of it. They couldn't pull a Steve from so little, could they?

After some panicky breaths, she'll feel strong enough to turn her head and meet their gaze dead-on. She'll find their eyes are not on her, but are in their own laps. Their heads will shake sorrowfully from side to side. Occasionally her fellow commuters will look up at the overpass and then slap their steering wheels in anger.

They'll be with their Janet. Though they won't know which car is hers, they'll see this scrawl on the overpass as an assault on the commute and all those who take part in it day after day. "Steve," they'll say to no one in their cars. "Steve probably works from home," they'll say. "Probably trying to get an online business off the ground," they'll say. "Probably has more than enough time to come out in the middle of the afternoon and hang off the side of an overpass and spraypaint some filth that'll break the heart of his Janet."

"Janet," they'll say. "She's on her way home. She's looking forward to her home," they'll say. "She's been working where she doesn't want to be, just like me," they'll say. "And when she intended to do nothing but push ahead into whatever space she can find to just inch a little closer to home, she had to look up and find that nothing is waiting for her anymore."

All at once, every single one of them, alone in their cars and unbeknownst to each other, they will all say in unison, "Janet is me."

Happy Steve Broke Up With Janet Via An Overpass Day!