There’s something strange that happens when you work late and your hour or so commute home happens late at night. There is barely anyone out on the road, and you know that everyone who is out driving is in the exact same situation as you are. It’s a strange sense of silent camaraderie. You may not know their name or where they work or anything about them other than they are heading home in the same direction as you and finished work just as late as you.
It’s a strange time in general to tell the truth. There’s this feeling of nothing being completely real, like you could very possibly not be moving anywhere or passing any time at all. The only things that break up the constant scenery of freeway asphalt and black night sky are the billboard signs.
These huge posters, telling you to buy a burger at the next rest stop, or to take a power nap to avoid fatigue, or advertising the next Hollywood blockbuster, they are like a personal countdown to being home. It also means that when my wife calls asking how far away I am, I can tell her exactly by the placement of these big signs. Everyone knows which is the last billboard before their own exit, and when one gets changed over, it adds a little bit of interest to the drive.
These huge signs, lit up by floodlights or by the nature of being electronic, are pretty much all you have to convince yourself on this long drive that you’re actually getting somewhere.
There is nothing you can really do about the length of your commute, except of course move your family, or quit your job. And because of this I appreciate the billboards and all the billboard advertising Melbourne I see on my way home more than I ever have before. And if you’re wondering, it does really work. I am always tempted to grab a burger, or visit a historical monument conveniently located just off the freeway, or call now to get my fortune told over the phone.
Billboards used to be annoying to me; a distraction on the road and something that would unnecessarily stick in your head long after you’d seen them. I never before thought that they could be something I would legitimately enjoy, something that would bring me a little bit of happiness on the road.