Stuck in Traffic with Vladimir Putin

Stuck in traffic.  It's something that just...happens.  It's the worst traffic I've experienced in my two years in California.  Backed up in the Pass between Palm Springs and LA.  Car after car—brake lights all—pinched to a solid, burning red.  But I was lucky today—I wasn't alone.  Naomi sat beside me and we surfed through our various options: 

Music at first, wordless so we could talk.  Then a podcast or two.  HBR's Condensed January-February Issue—talking about super bosses like John Stewart who foster great talent—and stats on corporate America today: that 80 percent of the average knowledge worker's time is spent in collaboration (read: "meetings" mostly), and the majority of actual value-added work-product is produced by just about 5 percent of the workforce.  After that it was a "Stuff You Should Know" on left-handedness.  But the hosts seemed unfocused, sloppy.  Stuck.  Like we were.  

"Do you want to play a game?"  

Naomi asked the question.  And I smiled.  So we settled on the one-word game.  

Each person says a word and we slowly build a sentence—the stranger the better.  A kind of crowd-sourced, micro-storytelling.  A riot.  

Here are the stories, one word at a time:   

Tomorrow, my little brother will correct egregious errors after collecting 17 minute pebbles in sandy crevices.  

Nicotine straws slurp ashes deliciously toward his healthy children.

Golden Pillsbury squeezes wink sinister motives during service of the Royal Poodle.

Something must be diminishing if inches continue to recede on my waist. 

Twice vegetables encountered resistance against their spicy attacks and vengeful knives.

Should everyone really decide themselves to market features of intimate detail on children's magazines? 

Fried shoelaces turn purple in ultraviolet chemicals following 47 experiments sequentially undertaken by Grandpa Putin. 

Never trust wig-makers on Thanksgiving because you don't know what the stuffing will influence. 

St. Bartholomew noticed peculiar transgressions from suspicious waiters serving tea on people's haunted laps. 

Squeaky windows rattle four rattles and five whistles each instance she bathed. 

Mountain Time changes 13 teenagers' fates because altitude calibrates brains and confuses libido. 

Forget deceiving tricks; they won't free prisoners today—however, seductive entreaties entice and delight tomorrow. 

Credible lips whisper half-truths and seduce quarter-lies to merchandise sex. 

By the end, we were sitting in our driveway, miles from where we started.  In those few miles we had witnessed the crazed science experiments of Vladimir Putin, learned important rules for dealing with wig-makers on American holidays, and followed the fates of confused youths in a confounding mountain landscape.  

Home wasn't the destination.  Humor was.  And there was no traffic in the way.