So let me paint the picture for you:
I get up at 5 (or thereabouts, depending on how well the snooze button works), while it's still dark. I'm usually out the door by 5:30, while it's still dark. From about one month ago until some point in February, it's going to be like that, every year. (in fact, it starts getting dark while I'm on my way home nine hours later. Wacky stuff, that.) I swing by my roadside java shack to pick up my mocha, but even with that limited human contact, the entire drive in to work consists of a fairly surreal span of time; mostly just singing along to whatever CD (homespun or otherwise) that tickles my fancy. If I'm feeling particularly saucy, I'm belting it out along with the stereo.
In the darkness swirls a random bit of fog, lights from the other cars, and several miles of shadow. All in all, it's not that much different from the conherence of sleep I'm enjoying an hour earlier.
So as I arrive at work this morning, I stop the car stone cold in the center of the road. Two deer step from the bushes into my headlights and look up at me.
"Oh. The morning shift is here already?" they seem to consider. "Damn that daylight savings time, if only we could read human, we could keep track of that."
I raise my recycled coffee cup to them and they dart off, and I feel compelled to follow. So I slowly drive the length of the substantial parking lot, momentarily wondering if they'll soon leap back into their mystical portal which will magically whisk them away from the land of men back into the wilderness. Do they commute, I wonder? Various Gary Larsen-inspired images ricochet off my brainpan at that thought.
Alas, they circle the blacktop, find a break in the hedge, and vanish. Right before my eyes. Damn the craftiness of those Forest King sorcerers! They've hidden the portal in plain sight!
Sadly, my VW Beetle is too broad for the portal, and I'm forced to find a parking space.
Thankfully, at 6 o clock in the morning, it's not hard. But with my coffee cup in one hand and my security badge in the other, I take one longing glance back at the break in the hedge and scan the door.
It beeps. I sigh. I enter.
(originally posted on www.reverb1.com in November 2005)