And They’re Off

I finally finished around midnight. It was too late for trains, so the production people called me a taxi. (“You’re a taxi!” Ha ha ha. Sorry. I’m still pretty tired.) The driver said the Tomei expressway would be the fastest way home since we were out in Kawasaki.

We got onto the entrance ramp, four lanes across, and went zipping along in the farthest left lane. I noticed as we went by that there were rather a lot of trucks. I mean a LOT, hundreds of them lined up in tidy rows like over-sized kernels of corn on a cob. And they weren’t moving.

“That’s a lot of trucks,” I said. “Is it always like this?”

“Of course,” said the driver. “It’s the time. The tolls go down at midnight. They’ll move in a moment.”

And he was right. I looked at the clock and it was 11:59. As we went through the toll gate, the trucks suddenly started going through, too, like horses coming out of a starting gate at a steeplechase.

I’m used to the expressways in central Tokyo where they’re raised, the same as in Kawasaki, but flanked by tall buildings. Out there, the raised highway is above the average height of the buildings. It was a clear night and the stream of taillights from the trucks stretching into the distance in front of us seemed to float above the city, a twinkling river flowing toward the horizon.

And it occurred to me that my long, tiring day was finally over, but those guys were just getting started. I wondered briefly what might be in those trucks and where they might be heading and was once again grateful for the good things in my life. One of them is that I (usually) don’t have to work at night. Another is that on the occasions that I do, I sometimes get to see something extraordinary.


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