Posted by: chlost | May 17, 2010

How do they do this?

Today, I had a meeting scheduled in the city, in the late afternoon.  I got through my day, and then headed in to get to the meeting, figuring it would take about an hour (that is 15 minutes more than usual-I was allowing for getting lost, as it was in an office I’ve never been to before). 

It is all freeway.  A major interstate.  Three lanes of traffic, even at the smallest area, and up to 5 lanes at times.  The speed limit is 70, going down to 60 as you get closer to the city.  I traveled opposite of the rush hour traffic, heading into the city at the time that most people would be heading out of the city. 

Nonetheless, after 45 minutes, 40 of them in stop and go traffic, I was still about 30 minutes from the destination if I were to travel the speed limit, which was not likely. There was construction almost the entire way, with miles and miles of two lanes of traffic trying to get past the workers in two different areas. IN this area of the highway, there is no exit for approximately 10-12 miles.

There is a recession, and I understand how wonderful it is for the TARP money to be put to use on a road project.  There was a sign which indicated that this particular traffic jam was being brought to us through the generosity of the taxpayers and TARP.  Meaning, I suppose, that I was paying for the honor of sitting in the traffic, missing my meeting.  Of course, the irony of me missing the meeting, and losing out on the income which I was hoping to receive as a result of the meeting was not far from my mind.  It is a new client, and it will hopefully be a lucrative situation, if it all works out. 

But most of my thoughts as I sat in my car on a warm, sunny, spring day with all of the other cars and the people sitting in them, were “How can people do this day after day, every day?” and “I am so glad that I am not commuting every day”, and “How much longer can this @$)(* line of traffic go on?”  Okay, I’m human!  I never did get to the meeting.  I called and told them where I was after 45 minutes, and they told me to just turn around, they’d call me later.  Not a very impressive showing for me.

For my work, I have an office in my home, and I travel about 10 miles between two small towns-rarely any traffic problems.  Today, I realized again why I would not be happy in a big-city job, commuting a long distance every day.  I did commute for several years, but that was years ago, and I think the traffic has gotten worse.   My husband has been doing it for  nearly 15 years, and he is ready to pack it in.  Luckily, he is working a shift that he misses most of the big traffic problems.  But, he has about 2 hours added to his day for traveling, even in the best of traffic conditions. 

Congratulations to those commuters who have to do this every day and have not lost their mind, their cars, or their lives in the insanity that is the rush hour.   I am relieved not to be counted among you.  I don’t know how you do it.



  1. When gasoline prices were spiking two years ago, people were predicting that the suburbs would go the way of the inner city decades ago… a reverse of “urban flight”. Indeed, many feel that prices of houses in the suburbs have fallen while those in the city have risen. (Portland, OR is a good example). Homes in what used to be questionable neighborhoods are now selling for amazingly inflated prices… the ease and cost of commuting is a big factor. One of my daughters works in downtown Portland and occasionally rides her bicycle to work.

    I see the traffic and gridlock and wonder what it will be like 50 years from now. It leaves me scratching my head.

  2. I live less than a mile and a half from my office. When the kids are gone, I might like to live closer to town. but I hate the idea of adding on a commute.

  3. I have no idea how they do it either. I have to take my son to Dallas to Doctor’s appts every month and we purposely have to schedule his appts for around noon on school days because you would spend two hours each way in traffic if you had a morning or late afternoon appointment. Sometimes, we still get stuck in traffic and I have no clue how people deal with that on a daily basis. Out where we live now, getting stuck behind a combine or a wayward cow wandering down the road is as close to rush hour traffic as we get.

  4. So in agreement here. I think I’d rather work at a Dairy Queen in a smaller town than a high-powered office in a big city, if the difference was giving away my life to the asphalt.

  5. I live in the city so my commute times are low. The American infatuation with the automobile boggles my mind. I’d turn in my car for a good mass transit system any day! The most relaxed years of my life I got around by bus, train and bicycle, no car hassles for me. Obviously I didn’t live in the States then!

  6. I hate the Interstate and all it’s problems and avoid it like the plague so I feel your pain!

  7. I have a forty-five minute commute to work…and I HATE it. Unfortunately, the jobs in my industry are centralized in that location and I can’t afford to live there 😦
    Fortunately, it’s nothing like what you went through, and I have work at home days, which keeps me from going completely nuts.
    I envy all of you that have short commutes!

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