10 Worst Things That Can Happen to You on the Way to Work

May 11, 2015 | Featured Posts by Holly Jahangiri, Writing

So, my friend ZLite over at CHTTRZ.COM wrote “10 Worst Things That Can Happen On The Way To Work” – and all I could think was that these were either the worst things that could happen, period, or merely a sign that you were about to have a pretty crappy day. Quite literally, in the case of #2. Hah, #2. Cute, Z.

Without some actual constraints – things that could really ruin the daily commute, things that could happen to me between home and work (as opposed to disasters of national or global or strictly personal proportions), the title is, as they say, “click bait.”

With only a four mile commute to work, what can go wrong? Never ask that, you say…

  1. I could get hit with a block of blue ice dropped from a low-flying plane on its way to IAH.
  2. A black-headed vulture could swoop down and accidentally land in my open sunroof. (Disturbingly likely, but moreso during times of drought.)
  3. My car could overheat. I could blow a tire. Or break a timing belt. (All of these have actually happened. Makes for a bad start to the day.)
    Someone could dart out into the street in front of me without space to slam on my brakes. (That’s definitely #1.)
  4. Nearby fracking could result in a major earthquake, diverting the flow of Cypress Creek straight down a man-made bayou and into my back yard. It would create a massive traffic snarl on all sides, blocking me from getting to or from work. (That’s probably #2, but far less likely than blue ice from above.)
  5. I could get all the way to work, and realize I’d forgotten to put on pants. (Probability of that is relative to the amount of caffeine in my bloodstream and only slightly more likely than blue ice.)
  6. A tornado could pick me up and drop me in a competitor’s parking lot in Austin. My brains would be so scrambled I’d put in six hours’ work before noticing the cubicles were arranged differently. (Toss a coin – this one’s about on a par with the blue ice. But given the tornadic activity in northeast Texas this past week – not outside the realm of possibility.)
  7. I could forget my lunch, then get booked in all day meetings. (Happens at least once a week. Boring, but disastrous for my diet.)
  8. I could forget my laptop, on which is the killer PowerPoint I have to present in ten minutes. (It’s happened.)
  9. I could encounter road flooding and have to detour. (It’s happened. As has complete flooding of one or more of the parking garages at work. I once had to wade through ankle deep water to get to my car. I was glad I’d parked on the ground floor, not LL2.)
  10. One of my loved ones could call me, while I’m driving, and tell me that any of the above had just happened to them.

What about you? What are 10 of the worst things you can imagine that might happen to you on your way to work? Try not to make this a disaster flick – it’s not about the 10 worst things that could happen, period. If work doesn’t exist anymore, it’s hardly worth mentioning in the headline, right?

This is something to keep in mind when writing fiction, as well. Much as I want to watch San Andreas when it comes out – out of nostalgia for having seen Earthquake (in “Sensurround” no less) as a kid – I can’t stress enough that sometimes the best disasters are disasters on a much smaller, more manageable scale, driven more by character than by plot or special effects.  Hugo and I would like to demonstrate this, with your help. From the list above, pick your favorite and leave the number in the comments below. One of my short stories, this week, will be based on the choice that gets the most votes between now and tomorrow at noon.

[tweet “Vote: Which story should Holly write next? Pick from list of 10 Worst Things here “]


Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


  1. Pierre Laberge

    1. Do not put the blue ice in your drink, it ruins the martini.

    2. A black-headed vulture…. Bah, at least let it be a raven!

    3. Overheat, blow tire, break timing belt. They suck. But this is even worse:

    4. Someone darting out in front of you. Especially if you hit them!!

    5. Nearby fracking could result in a major earthquake. More of a risk in Calif, I think.

    6. I could get all the way to work, and realize I’d forgotten to put on pants. THAT IS ONLY IN DREAMS!

    7. A tornado could pick me up and drop me in a competitor’s parking lot in Austin. Even now, there are minds at work, at HP HQ, trying to figure out how to make this happen!

    8. I could forget my lunch. Survivable! Might even be a treat! Someone might take you out to lunch!

    9. I could forget my laptop… Fake it, just Fake it!

    10 I could encounter road flooding….

    11. One of my loved ones could call me…. If you keep the phone turned off until you get to work, no worries!

    • HollyJahangiri

      You’re doing to me what I do to Mitch! LOL

      1 – true, but it might make for an interesting Blue Hawaiian
      2 – seriously? Ravens? In Texas? Black-headed vultures are the state bird!
      3 – ewwwwww…
      4 – that WAS the point!
      5 – see usgs.gov – not as unlikely here as you may think! (see my email, too)
      6 – let’s hope.
      7 – that’s a mean thing to say!
      8 – naah, no one ever takes me out to lunch.
      9 – that’s usually what I do during presentations.
      11 – that’s just mean! (but probably wise)
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…The Placebo EffectMy Profile

  2. Pierre Laberge

    I’ll pass on the tidy bowl blue Hawaiian!

    The ravens are for Mr Poe! Oh Lenore! Nevermore!

    You could write a fictions story about something that blows up…

    The point is to avoid hitting people! (You get extra karma points for just scaring the HELLA out of them!)

    I’m not a fan of fracking. I hope they simmer down on that.

    Well you could wear a dress, so no pants, is not so bad. And I think you should not try going commando! It is not safe.

    As for 7. You mean HP is ABOVE industrial espionage? Still, the gadgets, the fake badge, the boldly walking in, Heck, I see a Bond movie here. Or a Mission Impossible episode.

    Well, you have to sort of, you know, get people to take you out to lunch.

    Up here, they are very strict on phones off. I strongly favour that. Drive or talk. Not both.

  3. Pierre Laberge

    Well, it is Honourable. But Tom Cruise will have to do without a movie, and you will not get to kiss Daniel Craig. Have you considered working for another company?

    Damm, and I such cool gadgets in my head!

    • HollyJahangiri

      Cruise and Craig will live, and I will continue to have a job! LOL I think we’ll all be happier that way.

  4. Rummuser

    I am blessed. I don’t have to go anywhere to work. In fact, I don’t have to work at all!
    Rummuser recently posted…The Sanitary Inspector.My Profile

    • HollyJahangiri

      That day is about 20 years off, yet, for me! 🙂

  5. Patricia Stoltey

    My husband already accuses me of spending too much time worrying about the worst things that could happen each day so I’m trying to break the habit. But if you’re going to write a story about one of yours, I vote for #6. 😀
    Patricia Stoltey recently posted…One of The Best Writing/Editing Blogs on the WebMy Profile

  6. Marian Allen

    #2. Definitely write about #2. If it came to a cage match between the vulture and Hugo, my money’s on Hugo.
    Marian Allen recently posted…Boxcars @StoryADayMay 12My Profile


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