Ah, the car pool.

Now, I understand that “pool” has different meanings, but for me it just brings to mind an image of the old community swimming pool back home, lined with fading chipped baby-blue paint and car grills and headlights bobbing up through the water. The scaredy-cars are cowering near the edges, and a Honda Civic is doing a flip off the high-dive. If nothing else, it’s entertaining.

I was driving this morning on a pretty major highway in Denver, going to meet a friend for breakfast. It’s technically rush hour, and I hate traffic. I’m approaching a stretch of the highway with a car pool lane (See ’em swimming!? Ha! Cracks me up.), and I’m getting excited for the traffic to thin out, open up a bit — you know, give me a little more elbow room, alleviate my claustro-roado-phobia. So I get to where the car pool lane starts and wait for all the cars to thankfully move the hell out of my lane.

But nobody moves.

It suddenly occurs to me that nobody is pooling. My next thought is, “Why would they?” I’m not, myself, currently, “pooling,” and how many people do I know that actually would be able to go to work together? I start counting, and stop quickly because I can’t think of anybody. Then I get sad, because the obvious implication is that every single person on the road in front of and behind me is alone in their car. I start wondering how much brighter their day would be if maybe they had a friend to ride with them on their way to work. Maybe home, too. I know I’d like it.

Being unemployed, I’m alone most all day, every day, at least during the day hours (because that’s when everyone else works). I don’t really like it, but what choice do I have? “None,” I tell myself. And I’m not sure most of these people around me on the highway do, either.

But, you know, I bet our lives would seem a bit brighter if we could find a way to not be lonely.



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