When I teach my class on short story writing, eventually someone asks me to name either my favorite story or the story I believe is best - which I take as the same thing. O.K. Imagine, I say, that you're returning from vacation on a crowded freeway and then, the traffic, slows, slows, slows to a stop. Where you remain, entrapped among the miles-long stretch of cars for months (I spend a few quick minutes on Suspension of Disbelief if it hasn't been covered yet). People from the stuck cars begin to interact. To evolve into leaders and followers, caretakers and vandals, lovers and spurned, sharers and hoarders. People die. Babies are born. Eventually, after a cycle of seasons, the traffic begins to move again. By inches, in starts and stops. People, who are identified only by their cars, scramble behind their wheels. Friends now, lovers, partners in survival, they smile at each other thru their windows. They wave, they celebrate, they promise to reunite back in "the City." The flow of traffic picks up speed. Varying speed in different lanes. Lovers disappear in rear view mirrors. Familiar cars are replaced by models and colors we haven't seen before. And soon, traffic is flowing again, parallel rivers of strangers who never glance at each other as they stream toward who-knows-what, their lives ticking down. The genius of Cortazar's "The Southern Thruway" is how he holds up a mirror for us to see just what human Society is, i.e. what humans are - from a very different viewpoint. That, I remind my class, is what a short story should do.