Wednesday, February 6, 2013

During the commute...

There was a story on the network news the other day about the amount of time commuters spend in their cars. In one year the reporter said, if you took the cumulative time an average driver spent in the car stopped in traffic, it would equal the amount of time if would take to play nine 18 hole rounds of golf. It turns out Washington DC has the worst traffic in the United States. There a drive that would take one half hour with no traffic, typically takes about three hours.

Humph I thought self righteously, why don't those folks just take public transportation?

I got my answer yesterday, twice.

On the way to work a young man was listening to music through his ear buds. The difference between him and the twenty other people on the train listening to their music was that his music was so loud it could be heard throughout the train. You couldn't hear all his music however, just the percussion part which was the driving beat of some kind of dance music that carried on at the same cadence and tempo for at least fifteen minutes non-stop. It wasn't ear piercing loud mind you, just incessant, akin to Chinese water torture. It didn't help that the train was delayed for about five minutes on the bridge over the river. The thought of opening a door and jumping into the frigid water thirty feet below did cross my mind.

I have several transportation options to get home and choosing the best one can be a bit of a crap shoot. Last night the subway seemed to be the best option as it quickly gets me half way home where I have the option of hopping aboard an express train. There's now a message board at that half-way station which posts the arrival time of next train. It turned out there wouldn't be another express for at least ten minutes, so I hopped back aboard the original train which would probably beat that extra ten minutes.

It was the wrong choice. About three stations from home my train stopped. The driver got on the intercom to say there was a train ahead of us which should be moving shortly. It didn't. After about ten minutes (it seemed longer) the canned voice of the CTA told us that we were experiencing a delay. Pardon the expression but, no shit Sherlock. Just then, the express train passed us on unobstructed tracks. To make matters worse, the woman sitting next to me began a phone conversation with her estranged partner, telling her and the rest of the train that she couldn't live with her anymore because she the partner, was sick and in desperate need of psychological help. Turns out the partner had a penchant of throwing furniture at my seat-mate. "Yes I know I do bad things too but at least I don't throw furniture at you" she said.

I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. All I can say to those people who complain about sitting in their cars in stop and go traffic wishing they were out on the links is this:

"See what you're missing?"

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