61. BoreIt was the dullest, most nerve-racking road trip that Pete had ever been on.

On the one hand, he was out of the office, out of cubicalville, and usually, that would be a good thing. He hated the office and its total lack of atmosphere — it’s aggressive beige-ness — and regretted taking the job after sitting at his desk for five minutes. Any break from the monotony was welcome.

When he asked if he minded transferring some material to the home office, three hours up the interstate, he jumped at the chance. When he learned he would also be giving a ride to the company’s CEO, who found himself stranded at Pete’s office after some car trouble, he was suddenly less than enthused.

Mr. Peterson — his first name had eluded Pete the entire trip — was less than engaging as a road trip companion. The only things he had talked about — how irritated he was that he had to leave his car at the local dealership for repairs and how much work he had waiting for him when he got back — didn’t give Pete a chance to join in. Pete wasn’t sure Mr. Peterson even knew the name of the guy driving him back to all that work.

Pete tried to break the silence, and the tension, by turning on the radio. Mr. Peterson asked him not to; apparently, he hated radio.

It was going to be a long three hours, Pete knew.

And then they hit the traffic jam.