This morning's commute became an exercise of aggressive driving. Techniques acquired through years of treating traffic laws as merely suggestions were put into play. But no matter how quickly I can get through certain stretches of road, there will always be some factor that I cannot power through or maneuver around. It doesn't matter that I've gone the first twenty miles with an average speed of 85 mph, the fact that 17th street was unexpectedly reduced to a single lane where it had previously been two slowed me down considerably. Even if I had managed to get up I-295 in ten minutes, chances are that I would have only arrived one or two minutes earlier than I actually did because of the slow down on 17th. There was no way to pass the damned dump truck going all of 3.7 mph. It would be impossible to simply run down the officer directing traffic at Farragut Square who seemed to know that I was late, but made me stop at the green light anyway out of spite.¹ Even if I could have magically teleported my car straight into DC without dealing with I-295 or 395, the city would have found a way for me to slow down.
It was during this time that I realized how much of a science geek I really am. I've really been in denial about it for a very long time, but now there is no place for denial, only sweet, sweet acceptance. There can be no other reason but a deep-seated geekiness for the thought that overwhelmed all other thoughts this morning:
Damn these rate-limiting steps!
I'm not sure whether or not to be proud or embarrassed for myself. Part of me is deeply embarrassed. I've spent much of my life downplaying any sort of academic intelligence to others. (It got to be annoying that the grades gradually got lower as a function of the distance between others' seats and mine.)² In any case, I really tried to hide it. Somehow, I ended up in a science major in college.³
I think the majority of me is at least a little bit proud. I take (almost) endless pleasure in using terms that most people don't understand. I say almost because if you're actually my friend, the pleasure is not as great compared to making people I hate feel stupid. In any case, the comparison of the morning commute to a chemical reaction has forced me to finally accept that I am, in fact, a science geek. It's about time.
¹ Well, not impossible, but definitely frowned upon.
² And the geekiness continues to grow.
³ When I say, "somehow," I know exactly how, I'm just not going to tell you.