Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Long Haul

For this blog, I would just like you to picture me flailing around.

Actually, no.  Don't.  Because I'm getting pretty bored with blogging about my stress levels and the many and various things I have to be stressed about.  Which should seem contradictory, but really?  It's getting dull quickly.

Instead, can we talk about the fact that I'm now officially a "commuter"?  I haven't had to actually commute in nearly ten years, and even that was only for a few short months before I moved to St. Louis with my ex.  After that, I had a 15 minute drive on bad days.  Then it became a 10 minute drive.  Then it became a 6 minute drive, and I thought I had officially won at life.

Now?  It's a half hour each way if the rush hour traffic isn't too bad, if I cut into the bridge traffic as late as possible, if the weather is good, and if no one got in an accident.

Honestly?  As much as I don't want to move back to my old apartment, I do very much miss my six minute drive.

The question is: why do you people do this every day?  How do you do this every day?  I'm barely a month into my new commuting life and I'm kindof tired of it.  Or at least tired of how much gas it takes up.  And how late I get home.  And brake lights.

On the other hand, I'm burning through audiobooks at a much higher speed (an hour a workday, minimum), so I'm looking forward to seeing the boost that gives to my yearly book count.  So it's not all bad.

Really, it's actually not the worst thing ever.  People tend to act like Illinois is a foreign country when it comes to commuting.  Without rush hour traffic, I can make it from St Louis to home in twenty minutes.  I couldn't get to the airport in that time.  Honestly, people, I'm driving over the river, not canoeing.  My commute could be much worse.  It could be an hour each way.  It could involve a canoe.

But instead, I get to listen to books.  Or to music.  Or to nothing.  I get at least a half hour of downtime where I literally can't do anything but drive (or sit in traffic, as the case may be).

The worst part, as in much of life, is the other people.  The other drivers, to be accurate.

It's possible I'm biased from years of torture experience, but St. Louis and Illinois drivers are honestly some of the worst in existence.  Whether it's the inability to understand the simple concept of a turn signal, or that fact that merging is nothing more than a glorified game of chicken, or that traffic will be quite literally backed up for miles merely because someone got pulled over for speeding, or the fact that stop signs often seem to be all but invisible to most people... driving in the St Louis metro area can be challenging at best, and a sometimes-full-contact sport at worst.

But, it's home.  I'd rather live here than anywhere else, and if having our own house means I have to live on the Illinois side of the river and drive a little farther to go to work, then so be it.  Overall, it's worth the tradeoff.  (Or, at least, it will be once the place is actually ours.)

If nothing else, this experience has at least more adequately prepared me for an inevitable Mad-Max-style post-apocalyptic existence.  Lord knows I'd never make it if I stuck with my six-minutes-through-side-roads commute that I had for the past seven years.

Until then, I will ride eternal, shiny and chrome.  (Or, perhaps, shiny and ginger.)

1 comment:

  1. Try Houston. My 75 minute commute out there made every other place a dream!