Back from my morning work-out, sweating profusely, heart rate way up and pleased to be sitting at the old computer, ready for the new day. By work-out I do not mean a run or swim or squash game -- no, this morning's was the commuter version: meaning I sat in a car with the heater on, sipping stale coffee while travelling at ridiculously slow speeds through snow and ice (mostly forward but occasionally and alarmingly sideways), passed by maniac trucks, peering through a filthy windshield (my driver-side wiper blurs everything except a small perfectly clear spot just above the dashboard, which meant that my driving posture was a kind of foetal crouch), trying to follow the lane markings as they appeared and vanished like loreleis beneath the slush. Blood pressure, fear, rage, and stress, oh my. I did not have a cigarette going. I was not eating a piece of Kentucky-fried chicken. But I think they were the only ingredients lacking in a classic heart-attack recipe. The commuter version of the morning work out is not healthy.The sad thing is that I did not even get to where I was going. After taking forty-five minutes to travel twenty kilometres, I gave up, turned around, and crawled home. (When Harpo rides off, leaving Groucho in the sidecar for about the third time, he says something like, I've been driving for hours and I haven't been anywhere yet.) As an occasional commuter to the city, I enjoy my time on the road, thinking deep thoughts about music and donuts and girls, noticing new buildings and potholes, generally getting my ducks in a row and having a good time. I wouldn't even have attempted the trip this morning, except for my promise to Bayview Middle Schoool to come and talk to them. When I think of the packed auditorium, kids whispering and giggling in anticipation, and the sadness that must follow the principal's announcement that I will not be visiting (What did he say? I dunno. Who's coming? Richard something. Who's he? I dunno. Does that mean we have to go back to class? I dunno. Do you have any gum? No.) I feel bad. But not as bad as I'd feel if I had decided to continue my trek. For one thing, I'd still be on the road -- unless I was in the ditch.