Easy Rider -- or Highway to Hell?

Thursday - 4/10/2014, 2:00am EDT

Is getting to work the best part of your day, or do you have the commute from hell?

Do you listen to music, books, or learn a foreign language while going to and from the office? Do you talk with people in the carpool, train or bus? Or do you silently chant while taking in the scenery? Or doze, if somebody else is doing the driving?

Or...

Is your daily commute a stressful déjà vu nightmare. Do you find yourself cursing at — or being the target of rude gestures from — crazy people on the road. Or are you maybe one of the crazies? Just asking.

Is your blood pressure off the charts by the time you get to work or when you arrive at home in the evening? Do you honk in your sleep?

How far is your daily commute? How long does it take to get to work? Are you spending one-sixth of your waking hours getting to and from the office? Does your workday involve dodging potholes, enduring never-ending traffic jams? Are you daily stuck in road repairs begun by the same team that built the pyramids?

The Washington area has perhaps the worst traffic in the country. But things are tough too in New York (even when the New Jersey bridge lanes are open). Los Angeles, we know about. Houston-the-huge can be a challenge. So can Atlanta, especially during an ice storm. San Francisco to Oakland, whatever! Raleigh-Durham-Cary, getting nasty! And Austin's roads seems to be under permanent repair. Chicago and Philadelphia, forgeddaboutit!

Wherever you live, commuting can be a problem. Maybe one of your worst, on a daily basis. If it isn't traffic in Maine or Fairbanks, there is the dodge-the-moose-issue. How many times is the boss going to accept the moose alibi for being late?

Do you spend more time behind the wheel than with your significant other or kids?

We got to talking about the best-worst commutes here at Federal News Radio. Most are pretty good. We had one employee who drove 200 miles roundtrip daily from D.C. to Pennsylvania. She handled it well and without complaint. She also died in her early 50s. Stress was almost certainly a major factor.

There are very funny commuting stories. But a really bad, or long, commute is no joke.

For years one of my sons lived in the Rockville area of Maryland and commuted, daily, to Reston, Va. A long trip, including a nightmarish time on the infamous Beltway, plus two traffic clogged roads in Maryland and Virginia. He never complained, but when I was heading home on a flyway over the Beltway — often a six-lane parking lot — I suffered for him.

I personally know several people whose daily commute is about 100 miles. One comes in by train from West Virginia. Another works in downtown D.C., but lives in Fredericksburg, Va. There is a guy at the Pentagon who lives in central Delaware. And I know one person who lives on the same block as his federal agency. I know someone who lives in San Diego and works just outside of L.A. Go figure.

So, have you got a commute story? Or do you know somebody who has? We'd like to hear the best, worst, longest, shortest how-I-get-to-work stories. Knowing how the other half lives, or in this case gets to and from work, would be interesting. Maybe even helpful. Whatever your situation, somebody probably has it worse.

Let us know what's going on in the a.m./p.m. portion of your life. Any tips for keeping calm?


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The happiest lawyers, according to a new study from Florida State University and the University of Missouri, are those who make the least and had the lowest grades in law school. These lawyers, most of whom are public-service lawyers, also drink less than their more well-heeled counterparts.

(Source: Smithsonian Magazine)


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