PDA

View Full Version : Elizabeth! I'm coming to join ya!


Valentine One Radar Detector

Eric
08-08-2006, 09:36 AM
Elizabeth! I'm coming to join ya!
(If I ever get out of this traffic jam)
By Eric Peters
for immediate release

Did we really need a study to tell us that grinding our lives away in traffic jams leads to increase stress and thus the chances of ending up in the cardiac care ICU? Who among us thought it might be soothing to be bolixed in by forces beyond our control -- our range of action as limited as a broiler chicken in a factory farm wire mesh cage? To stare at an endless succession of "My child is an honor student at Pretentious Tot Academy"? To spend an hour covering a distance of 15 miles?

Kidding aside, the recent study documenting the correlation between the amount of time a person spends mired in traffic and his or her chances of flatlining by the side of the road, spittle trickling out of the corner of their mouths, simply confirms what our overstressed bodies have been trying to tell us for years. Who among us has not felt the boil over? The uptick in heart rate -- the sweaty but futile rage that accompanies yet another bottleneck?

But despite the alarm bells -- physiological and otherwise -- warning us of the ugly end this business will lead to -- we stay the course, grumbling and miserable but putting up with it nonetheless.

It's a crazy way to live - spending as much as 10 hours per week stuck in a car -- which is merely average for a commuter living in a major urban/suburban area such as Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles. Many spend a lot more time than that. How is it that we voluntarily submit? If you think about it, spending a couple of hours per day in traffic is not qualititatively different from having been convicted of a minor crime and being sentenced to spend a day in the clink each week -- you know, like they do with DWI offenders and check kiters. Only there's no parole -- and the sentence is only going to increase over time.

Alarming projections about the likely increase in the population around major urban areas -- and thus the likely uptick in cars on the road -- paint a Xanax-bleak picture of a future in which untold millions of Americans will spend more time caged in their cars than with their families -- or doing something other than waiting for the car ahead to inch forward so they can make it home in time to grab a pot pie and crash for the night.

Where I used to live -- just outside Washington, D.C. -- workers had to leave by 7:30 to make it to the office by 9. And I was about 15 miles out from downtown. Folks living farther out -- in the ever-expanding sprawl of suburban tract developments -- get up even earlier. Some at 5 a.m. On the flip-flop, most suburban commuters punching out at 5 don't make it back to the homestead until well past six -- usually closer to 7 -- by which time they are understandably exhausted and looking to satisfy the most basic animal wants -- some food gulped down and a quick fade-out into eight hours of oblivion on the Serta Ultra Support. The microwave and Col. Sanders have supplanted the home cooked meal (who has time?) while only the strongest will supplemented by lots of coffee can rise to the occasion of helping with the homework or taking care of that thing that needs fixing.

Meanwhile, the body cries in protest; it can only take this sort of abuse for so long without repercussions. Obesity, high bllod pressure; diabetes -- all on the rise. Is it a coincidence?

Note also that those silly faux Graceland 5,000 square foot McMansions that keep popping up sit on ever-smaller lots -- typically 1/3 acre. (Two acres is considered an "estate.") Who cares if your neighbor's window is ten feet away -- so long as there's less grass to mow, less "upkeep" to have to deal with in the ever-diminsihing amount of spare time left to harried worker drones. It never occurs to these benighted souls that if they didn't have to spend so much time in their cars, they'd have time to care for -- and enjoy -- a decent-sized lawn, maybe a bit of elbow room between them and their neighbors. But instead, they'd rather be right on top of them -- just like they are when they're stuck in traffic.

Luckily, the relief of the grave draws ever nigher. It may be the only way out.

END

JohnB
08-08-2006, 11:27 PM
I can tell you from personal experience that once I stopped making that 25 miles, 2 hr evening commute home from work I stopped having chest pains and was able to cut down on my BP meds. Now the occasional hr on bumper to bumper traffic doesn't bother me as much. I just plan for the extra time, turn on the SAT radio to a mellow jazz station and chill.

Eric
08-09-2006, 06:55 AM
I can tell you from personal experience that once I stopped making that 25 miles, 2 hr evening commute home from work I stopped having chest pains and was able to cut down on my BP meds. Now the occasional hr on bumper to bumper traffic doesn't bother me as much. I just plan for the extra time, turn on the SAT radio to a mellow jazz station and chill.


Ab-so-lutely!

We moved to the country for just this reason (to a great extent). I knew in my gut I would blow a gasket if we stayed in the DC area; it got noticeably worse up there every six months - and by now, it's got to be unbearable. I understand putting it up with it when you're 20 and trying to make your way in life; but those who stay when they don't have to - them I don't get at all.

But as a friend of mine often says, "horses for courses"!

JohnB
08-10-2006, 10:35 PM
But as a friend of mine often says, "horses for courses"!



Thank You!

Kwozzie1
08-11-2006, 03:31 AM
stopped making that 25 miles, 2 hr evening commute home from work


I could never understand the logic of 2 hours in a car morning and evening.... My cousin in NJ only saw his kids at weekends...he left at 0530hrs in the morning got home after 1930hrs What life is there in that...even with good pay

Eric
08-11-2006, 07:38 AM
What life is there in that...even with good pay



Very little - but manypeople are willing to make the sacrifice inorder to own a larger (or nicer) home, have a fancier vehicle, etc. To me, this is crazy. Being able to actuallly spend time with one's wife/kids strikes me as more valuable (to them) than having a larger home - or a fancier car.

But our society is very status oriented, as you know. A suburban McMansion is the main totem of success - even if it means getting up at 4 or 5 o'clock every day and not getting home until past 7 in order to be able to afford it....

JohnB
08-26-2006, 05:13 PM
stopped making that 25 miles, 2 hr evening commute home from work


I could never understand the logic of 2 hours in a car morning and evening...

It wasn't the distance... I made the morning trip in less than 30 minutes including surface streets. The evening one was the bitch. All it took was one jackass to rear end someone or have a flat tire and the entire 10 miles through the canyon came to an almost complete stop.

Eric
08-26-2006, 05:39 PM
stopped making that 25 miles, 2 hr evening commute home from work


I could never understand the logic of 2 hours in a car morning and evening...

It wasn't the distance... I made the morning trip in less than 30 minutes including surface streets. The evening one was the bitch. All it took was one jackass to rear end someone or have a flat tire and the entire 10 miles through the canyon came to an almost complete stop.


That was DC, too.. only much, much worse....!