I Envy Your Commute: It's True!

Hey, all you people who think you spend too much time commuting or lose large, unrecoverable chunks of your life stuck in traffic en route to work – there are people out there who envy you!

I’m one of them.

Yes, it’s true.  As one who lost many hours to gridlock in Dallas and Washington, DC, I have to say that I now look back at those times with a bit of nostalgia because having to drive only 8.5 minutes to get to work, well, it’s not really a commute, is it?

In fact, that’s almost exactly the amount of the time it takes my aged car to cool down in the summer or heat up in the winter.  By the time I arrive at my job, I’m either hot or cold, but always in the wrong season.

That’s not the only problem with having such a short commute. The bigger issue is that 8.5 minutes isn’t long enough to accomplish much of anything! But to be honest, 8.5 minutes isn’t even long enough for me to have a complete thought these days.

Most audio books, for example, take 10 to 12 hours to complete.  If I can only listen to 8.5 minutes each way, it will take me almost 42 trips back and forth to work – or over two months -- to finish listening to the story.  That would be stretching the limits of my attention span, for certain.

How much of a music CD can I listen to during the trip to work? Depending on the length of song, maybe I could enjoy two and a quarter songs each way.  It’s difficult to get my groove on in such a brief period of time.

I could listen to the radio, but probably not National Public Radio without interruption because their programs are at least a half-hour long and their news stories tend to be fairly lengthy, too.

But I do feel like I ought to be somewhat productive during my commute.  I’ve tried using the time to make telephone calls (no, it is not illegal in my state to talk on a cellphone while driving) but there’s barely enough time to get a response to “Hello, how are you?”

I’ve tried using the time just to think about things, and sometimes nothing, but, again, my attention span isn’t too long so I’m always afraid that if my mind wanders too much, the car might, too, and I may not make it to the office. I don’t think my boss would be happy about this.

In my current location, a traffic jam is three cars at a stop sign. So it’s pretty smooth sailing from my front door to my workplace.  In between, there’s one stop sign, one traffic light and usually a school crossing guard. So I never stop long enough to safely send a text, paint my nails, apply makeup , read a chapter, make lists, write checks, knit a few rows, or engage in any of the myriad of activities I’ve observed others participating in while stuck in traffic (and sometimes when they’re driving on the Interstate!)

I know, I know. You mid- and long-distance commuters don’t have any sympathy for me.

That’s OK. I understand. I feel the same way when my spouse complains about his commute to his home office down the hall. Instead of complaining about too much traffic or the length of his commute, he grumbles about not having either.

“I never get a snow day,” he also whines.

All of which is to say, apparently the commute always looks better when it’s not the one you’re making!



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