I've been leaving work late a lot recently, for some reason, and this allows me to take the shorter way home. Ordinarily the shorter route is slower, though, because it's so popular. When I leave late, however, it becomes the shorter and much quicker route home, because the traffic has dried up and it's got nice, wide, slick pavement and no traffic lights.
Once, during the college years, my roommate and I had driven down to Long Island from our upstate campus, and were preparing to head back up. We didn't know the best route, and asked my father and brother. Before doing so, my roommate had said "I can't stand it when people tell you how to get someplace based on the time of day." I knew what he meant: "Well, you'll want to take the Cross Island to the--hold on, what is it, three o'clock? Oh, screw that. What you do is you go up the Meadowbrook, THEN cut west on the Northern. It'll be, what, three thirty-five, three-forty when you get up there, I guess. So...that should be okay. Tell you what, you get to exit 21 and it's still before four, just take the damn thing." So we asked, and it was like that.
My point is this. If I leave at PRECISELY the right time, I will arrive home before I leave work. New goal!