For 26 years I have had the privilege of a less-than-challenging commute from home to office of 7 minutes (15 minutes with a Starbuck’s stop).
But now we are downsizing and rehabbing a home in Temple, Texas, while selling the current home. We sold the current home (whew!) and with the new home not ready, we moved to our getaway condo in Austin, only an hour from work (without Starbuck’s).
Hundreds of thousands of Americans spend this time on the road every day, so I was convinced it would be no big deal. With satellite radio I can listen to a thousand channels of music, news, haranguing or get books on tape (or disk), or just enjoy the quiet beauty of Central Texas.
Not so much!
First: Driving on I-35, one of the most traveled highways in the country (particularly if you like really big trucks and lots of construction), is a full bore NASCAR challenge, with only slightly lower speed limits.
Second: Think BROWN! Central Texas is truly beautiful if you like space, tranquility and few people. And August is always brown, except for the few years that an errant hurricane/tropical storm intervenes. But this brown season started in June! We already have had 80 days of over 100-degree temperatures (a record by 10 days so far); feet – not inches – less rainfall than normal (a local lake is more than 30 feet below normal) and virtually no plant life visibly alive (even insects are scarce). Mature trees are dying by the scores. This tragedy is only worsened by massive acreage and homes burned across Texas (3.5 million to date with more than 100 active fires at the time of this writing).So looking out on an impending desert is not refreshing, and can actually be downright depressing.
Third: The time. Losing 2.5 hours every day – not at home, not at work – makes me truly thankful for my last 26 years so close to both. And I am becoming very sympathetic to the concept (not reality) of road rage! When someone cuts me off, I flare just a bit and try to meditate at 70 mph!
So what do I do (besides pressuring the contractor to get the house DONE)? Turn off the haranguing, shouting and ideologues. Turn on music, comedy, storytelling – something to mollify the highway fatigue and the further dread of filling my gas tank every third trip (yes, I do like big cars)!
How do you deal with your commute?