Posts from ‘Commuting’
As a Chicagoan, I take a certain amount of pride in my ability to complain about the local traffic situation. To that end, though I loathe to report that my 17-mile trip from Consumer Guide’s Chicago-adjacent office to the sleepy Northwest Suburbs can take me more than an hour on the wrong day, I feel a least at little satisfaction knowing that I am a statistical outlier.
It’s summer now, and my commute has gotten much, much easier—at least most days. Once school is out, and folks start hitting the vacation trail, the volume of vehicles on the road during prime AM and PM migration times is reduced considerably. That said, there’s no accounting for road construction, accidents, and whatever the hell it is that happens around here Friday evenings. I won’t mention snow–snow is still months way. One inch of fresh snow can easily double the duration of my normally 75-90-minute commute home.
Hitting the road is more than just the opening salvo of your daily commute.
Most of us understand that when you take the wheel, you enter into a social contract obliging you to make driving as easy and uncomplicated as you can for every other driver on the road.
My commute sucks. It’s not actually a long commute distance-wise, clocking in at 20 to 24 miles depending on how I go. My commute is, however, laced with heavy traffic, lots of merging, and seemingly countless ill-sequenced red lights. On a good morning, I will make the trip in 45 minutes. On a bad day, you can add another half hour to that tally. And, God forbid if it snowed or rained.
Google Maps Street View is, undeniably, a very useful tool. Need to find a local business that you’ve never been to before? Check out a picture of the place before you go there so you know what to watch for. Planning a vacation? Scope out the hotel before you get there and make sure it’s as great as the website says it is. Wanna check out the Eiffel Tower in Paris or roam the streets of New York City while on your lunch break? Yep, you can do that too.
I turn 50 in a couple years. I am not particularly freaked by the notion of crossing the half-century line, nor has the prospect rendered me especially wistful.
However, I have spent some time contemplating just how long a stretch of time 50 years is. During that period, I was born, learned to read, did some joy riding, met my bride, and had a kid—and there’s a whole bunch more stuff I did between those benchmarks.
I am pretty sure that if, as a nation, we could assess and grade the driving skills of all our drivers—and we could subsequently keep folks earning D and F grades off the road during rush hour—our collective commuting times would drop by at least half.
I haven’t had a eureka moment in the car in years. You’d think that someone with a long commute would occasionally, when deep in thought, stumble upon a perfect solution or a brilliant plan—but not so much. Unless you consider remembering to pick up sriracha and Diet Pepsi brilliant, I’m not getting too much mental business done while in transit.