She had to get to work.

The woman lived in a suburb and commuted in toward the city nearly every day. Monday through Friday she worked, Saturday and Sunday, she played. The city had everything she’d ever need. She planned on moving there someday, but for now, it was too expensive. She would wait and always keep an eye open for a cheap place.

She wasn’t originally from there. She’d moved for school and never left, she loved the place too much to go back home, or chase a career anywhere else. One thing she’d noticed was that there always seemed to be a lot of road construction in the area.

One morning, she was taking her usual route to work when she realized that the street was littered with orange signs and cones. The speed limit had been temporarily reduced and traffic was backed up. She wasn’t much of a planner and therefore, didn’t have much time to spare in her commute. She was late to work that day.

The next morning, she figured she’d take another path to her office. The road was lined with cars and angry brake lights glared at her while she sat in place, fretting about her imminent tardiness. This time, she had the sense to call ahead and explain herself.

The next day, the girl tried yet another set of streets and encountered more orange cones. This time, she was even yelled at by a flagger, who told her to “Turn around! Go another way!” She was pissed and might have flipped double-birds his direction. His angry outburst had merited her disdain. Also? She was late for work again. Fortunately, her boss was understanding about the situation, he remembered commuting before he got his apartment in the city.

For more than a week, the girl was held up by road work, bad traffic signals and poorly designed intersections. It seemed that every path she tried had its flaws, most of them major. She couldn’t imagine that a city could have constant construction like this without any semblance of ease of travel or at least improvement anywhere. She complained about it to her boss every morning until he finally said, “It’s funny, you’d think that we’d eventually figure it out. Instead, we just keep going over the same things over and over again. We keep making the same mistakes, too. But somehow, people make it around the city it all and get where they need to. By the way, if you’re late one more time, you’re fired.”