Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Prisoners

I’m a lucky guy. One reason is that I have some nice bikes I can ride to work.

Another reason is that I live so close to my office in South Anchorage that, if I can’t ride, I have to drive only a couple of miles. Hell, I live so close to work that I pedal well out of my way just to stretch the round-trip commute to 13 miles.

Several of my co-workers live in places like Eagle River and the Mad-Zoo Valley. And they suffer for it. Every time it snows three inches, or some cell-phone using, makeup-applying, McMuffin-eating moron flips an SUV into the ditch, the Glenn Highway becomes a hardened artery with a rubber-necking obstruction.

People arrive at work talking about commutes of 90 minutes or longer. And this is routine. Some days, there’s not even an accident; traffic just clogs up because of some mysterious dynamic in the fire-breathing organism that is born when thousands of cars attempt to move in the same direction on the same road at the same time.

It’s the same in offices all across Anchorage. Countless people stand at coffee pots every morning, telling co-workers things like, “I left Chugiak at 7:15! At 8:00, I was still in Eagle River!” Yet the Victims of the Glenn still flood into Anchorage every morning and pour out every afternoon.

I can’t claim full credit for living two miles from work. Like I said, I’m lucky: My office relocated a few years ago and the change cut miles off my cross-town commute. But I can claim credit for moving to Anchorage and immediately recognizing I wanted nothing to do with driving the Glenn every day. A major reason my wife and I chose to buy a house in town is that she wanted a short drive to work, and I wanted to be able to ride a bike to work.

Life’s short. Why spend it in traffic?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't let my haggard hunched-over-the-steering wheel soulless shell of a body fool you, I LOVE that drive; especially when we all have to stop to look at that same damned car that's been parked in the ditch for three days now! To try to keep some sanity of it all, I refer to my commute as "riding my car" just to make it sound a little more like "riding my bike." I'd like to think it helps, but I still want to shoot everyone in front of me in the face. But at least I have a house I can afford, no wait, I can't even afford that now. This blows.

XOXO, Rob

Shawn Kielty said...

I so love my commute -- 8 minutes to the train -- 1/2 hour of reading to SF -- 8 minutes to work.

I am really suprised to hear of difficult commutes in Anchorage.

George said...

I've had different commutes over the years......the worst was a 45 mile slog that at least an hour in the morning and 90 minutes in the evening.

The best is the one I currently have-7 minutes by car and 25 minutes by bike.