You don’t always meet him, but when you’re lucky you do. More frequently, you just get stuck behind the usual stragglers talking on their cell phones, or digging for toll money through their bags. Even when you docome across each other, you don’t initially know it. At first you simply take him for one of the seething masses, and set your sights on defeating him. Slowly, though, you begin to realize his true nature by the way he drives. You feel that he wants to move as fast as you do, that the reason for his slowness is those before him, not he himself. As he presses on them, cars in front of him part like they would for you, had you been in the lead. When he merges into the right lane to execute pass around a stubborn obstacle, you smoothly follow him, beginning to trust his instinct and resolve.

And that’s when it begins to dawn on you: You and he are a team.

Now there is an understanding. If he should go for the pass, but get caught by someone from the far right oblivious of the scene, he knows you will let him back in. When you trade off leads, leap-frogging from wolf-pack to wolf-pack, it is as comrades, not duelers. You are sharing a brain now, really, and only the impending exit signs can seperate you. And when they do, you signal to your partner with a salute, bothe elated at your mutual success and melancholy at your parting. Farewell, old friend…

PS There are 3 iPod billboards on the 101 between Santa Clara and San Francisco…

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