For better or worse, I’ve lived and worked in quite a few cities and towns during my ridiculous life. And I’ve experienced the full spectrum of morning commutes. I’ve been within walking distance a couple of times, and also lived an outrageous number of miles from the office. And everything in between.
My shortest “commute” was in Dunbar, when I was but an ugly teenager. For a couple of years I worked as a stocker at a grocery store called Fas-Chek (wotta dump), which was within rock-throwing distance of our backyard. I know, because I used to throw rocks at it. Heh. Unless it was raining, I walked to work every day.
In Greensboro I had an apartment that was technically within walking distance of Peaches Records, but I always drove. It was probably a mile, give or take, and my cassette deck only had enough time to play half-a-song, until I was parked and hoofing it into the store.
My worst commute was in Atlanta, by far. Toney and I lived together in Little Five Points, the hipster bohemian area of town, but when we started to talk about marriage… we got intrigued with the idea of buying a house.
One day, and I don’t remember how we ended up there, we were in Stone Mountain, checking out a model home inside the main gate of a new housing development. It was WAAAY too far from work, but we went to the open house, anyway.
And we loved it, of course. Our emotions got the better of us, and we began rationalizing the crazy-ass drive we’d have to endure every morning and evening. It was insane, but we eventually justified it to ourselves. Oh, we’re masters at that.
It was probably forty miles, but the first five were the worst. It often took longer to drive the five miles or so to the interstate, than it did to complete the last thirty-five miles of the journey. The traffic was like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s a wonder my brain stem didn’t catch fire, or something. I was stressed into the red zone, almost every day.
But once I get moving… I don’t really mind driving long distances to and from work. It’s alone time with my choice of music, and what’s so horrible about that? I just can’t take sitting in traffic. It makes me insane.
The other bad commute was Los Angeles, of course. It was another forty mile trek, but nearly all interstate. I almost literally didn’t know what to expect each day. It could take me thirty minutes, or two hours. It frequently sucked, but not always. Atlanta was much worse, because of its sucking consistency.
Here (and I’m noticing a pattern) I also drive about forty miles to work. My original job was a lot closer, but that was during a different lifetime. And similar to L.A., I don’t really know what to expect each day. But it’s not because of the number of cars here, but the constant, never-ceasing road work. I-81 South will likely be the cause of my aggravation-triggered death one day. That’s my current prediction.
So, what’s been your best and worst commutes, to date? And how do you amuse yourself if you’ve got an extra-long journey? Audio books? A favorite radio station? CB radio (good buddy)? How do you pass the time, driving to and from work?
Tell us about it in the comments, won’t you?
And also… please help us out with a questionable exercise at Mockable. Right here.
I’ll see you guys tomorrow. I need to drive forty miles again, so if you’ll excuse me…
I quite like my 2 hours commuting each day. I listen to audio books, talk on the phone, catch up on e-mail, shoot a video or two, edit a few videos…
You know what? I caught it on tape if you care to watch:
Chuck in Belpre says
Worst was Parkersburg to Dunbar 5 days a week. About 90 miles each way. On the other hand I got paid from the time I left the house to the time I got home so I had that going for me.
Now I walk from the bedroom to the home office…about 30 feet.
Right now it is 6.5km, between 10-15 minutes. Beginning some time next month we are moving to the downtown office, so it will be slightly further (7.1km) but will probably take 20-25 minutes.
“The traffic was like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s a wonder my brain stem didn’t catch fire, or something. I was stressed into the red zone, almost every day.”
Living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, every commute is a bad commute. This place is big and spread out.
cross lanes curmudgeon says
Worst commute–50 minute, pre-interestate trip from baja Roane County to Charleston, although the occasional summertime trip along backroads by motorcycle was fun.
Best communte — 100 yard walk from house to dock on Little Cranberry Island, then 10-20 mile trip into the Gulf of Maine to haul traps during long-ago job as lobster boat sternman.
Now live in the commuter mecca of Cross Lanes, W.Va., the nation’s largest unincorporated traffic jam.
Jeff Settineri says
Your post nearly made me weep. You distilled my driving philosophy to its very essence. Well done. Reader for years, first comment.
Alice in WV says
some funny shit there, @Nalts! 😀
currently doing 25 miles from philly to the burbs…if im not able to leave work and be on the highway by 4:30pm(which never happens)…i mentally throw my hands up, huff and puff at my desk and resign myself to sitting there until after 6. bumper to bumper on 76 is just not worth it.
@ Jorge…hahaha, loving the rules especially #3. I wish i had a sign to hold up for these lollygaggers,
“thank you for trying to get me killed”
“3. Be moving at the same speed as the cars already on the freeway when you get to the bottom of the on ramp. Getting into the right lane at 45 MPH endangers you and. more importantly, me. I consider this attempted murder on your part and one day will react accordlingly.”
PAmike: Two words that strike fear into the hearts of all suburban Philly commuters: Conshohocken Curve. Let the non-Philadelphians here chew on that one for awhile! 😉
Lee Harvey Ramone says
I like casseroles
Son Of Sam says
Chili is a meal.
Swami Bologna says
Soup tastes good.
WB in OH says
Son Of Sam says
a bowl of corn motherfuckers
That’s it…I’m linking to Amazon and get a new Bundt Pan!
My WVSR t-shirt arrived today! Thanks Jeff…I am headed to Los Cabo Mexico at the end of the month and i will certainly be sporting it there. Your Friend from Canada.
mexico motorcycle says
A number of years back I asked my smokin-hot sister in law, Jan, how she tolerated the ugly 70 mile commute she had each day. As she stood there in her bikini…her long tan body covered in a slight sheen of perspiration….she answered the question without hesitation…”I hike up my skirt and masturbate most of the way home”…”especially on hot days”. Beer shot out of my nose when I heard that answer. She said it so seriously. The image of her doing that still haunts my dreams. I miss you Jan.
@Chuck in Belpre…what part of town are you in? I used to live on Lee St. in on the top floor of a two story duplex between the main drag through town and the river. Good times, great apartment…located halfway between McHappy’s donuts and People’s News (back in the days when they stocked really good porno mags!). I also tended bar in Vienna. Man, they call ’em the “good ol’ days” for a reason, don’t they?
I applied for a job at McHappy’s in high school. I never really looked at the porn at People’s News (In Marietta) but my airplane and horror mags were right next to them so it looked like I was. Those old biddies sure were some old biddies.
Chuck in Belpre says
@clintcurtis…on Barclay St. about 2 blocks from the High School.
Boxcar Matt says
Best AM commute was a 5 minute drive. I could wake up 1/2 hour before work and be at my desk on time, showered, appropriately dressed and with bagel.
Worst AM commute is a tie:
1) upper east side Manhattan to Jersey City. 3 different trains and a 1/2 mile walk for an unpaid internship.
2) Staten Island to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. 7 mile drive took 45 minutes.
Current AM commute is 45 minutes through northern NJ. Not bad. The drive home is ok except it turns into a parking lot every Friday afternoon. Brutal.
Damn, and I thought I was the only one who masterbated during my commute.
All this talk about masterbating while driving reminds me…. Back in the glorious 80’s when I was a twenty-something, I worked for a small wedding/formal evening dress shop in Indiana, PA. It was a 2-story building with the majority of the business conducted on the second floor. One fine summer day I was just looking out of the huge display window down at the traffic on the main drag. Sitting in a large box truck waiting for the traffic light was some dude playing with his “hog” thru his unzipped jeans. I was fucking mortified. He was on it like a long lost friend. And like a train wreck, couldn’t stop watching. Then, all of a sudden, I guess he was worried about on-lookers, he looked up & looked directly at me. Didn’t slow him down in the least. He obviously was as surprised as I was.
last sentence: “wasn’t” (!!). fuck
Jeff and fellow correspondents,
It took 28 hours 35 minutes to arrive at the actual topic: COMMUTING WHILE MASTURBATING. It took another 28 hours to document anecdotal evidence of this practice. Thanks bikerchick — for the evidence and for the entertaining way you told the story. That’s a nice piece of cultural anthropological writing.
Obvious questions remain, such as how do Mrs. Wally, Clint, Chuck and others with very short commutes satisfy themselves? Chuck only commutes 30 feet, all in his house. What happens to the carpets and the wallpaper? Is this kind of damage covered by homeowners insurance.? Is replacing stained home decor a legitimate business deduction? Clearly, the female correspondents don’t have the same risk exposure, so to speak.
I’m just askin’.
jtb: thanks…I think…
Shiny Rod says
chill – that was early to mid 80’s. Best thing about the commute was that I got to listen to “The Greasman” for the duration of the trip. Gobba de gee!