Thursday, October 15, 2009

First day of commuting by car

I don't expect to drive myself to work much on Thursdays as the university shuttle bus schedule closely matches my work schedule. I have a long day of teaching and would gain only thirty minutes, at the expense of not being able to rest, read and even sleep on the road.

However, my wife's schedule and my own conflicted in the morning and I had to take our son to daycare long after the shuttle bus had left. It was handy, then, to have the car, have the option.

And, of course, I was excited about driving for the first time in several months -I had rented a car while my mother visited (ironically, I may have to again when she next visits as our car, a Korando, is a two-seater).

The two drives- there and back - were an interesting contrast. On the drive there, I was unusually alert and careful. I drove aggressively but within my abilities; chiefly because I knew my skills were rusty and was deliberately paying more attention than usual. During the drive, I expected that in the future, perhaps in two or three weeks, my skills would have recovered a little but my comfort would have increased drastically. This, I figured, would be the most dangerous time for me, as I would be more confident than warranted.

Turns out, the ride home was nearly at that risk level. I was careful but tired from teaching. There were no problems, but several times I was surprised by stoplights and cars ahead that I should have (and in the morning, would have) noticed at a greater distance. I got home fine, and I am fine (tired, though) but the ride to work was a joy. The ride home, a chore.

Tomorrow, I will drive again. I can leave home a little earlier and not push myself on the road. I also finish early and will stop a few times on the way home.

I recognize that I am making this sound a little melodramatic -I know that I don't have to summit Everest or anything to get to work. Still, what I really want to discuss is the cost/benefit for driving compared to bussing. At this point, both modes of transport have their individual strong suits.

Oh, I will stop on the way home to do some shopping and sightseeing, not rest and recover from a stressful drive or anything like that.

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