The Commuting Conundrum

I’m sitting in my New York hotel catching up on email and writing with the TV on in the background at 8 am. Bear in mind that I am originally a New Yorker and I’m here very often. I know the place well and thrive here. Few things surprise me.

The TV traffic reporter is noting matter-of-factly that the delays at the George Washington bridge are 30 minutes, the Holland Tunnel 20 minutes, and the Lincoln Tunnel 40 minutes. That means, for those of you in Wyoming, that when you hit the approaches to the Lincoln Tunnel from Jersey it will take you 40 minutes of barely inching forward to get through into Manhattan. (It’s probably taken you 40 minutes or more to get there, and you’ll have another 20 or 30 minutes maneuvering around Manhattan to your ultimate destination.)

Not long ago I had to be in Boston for a meeting, and I read in the back seat while the limo driver spent 90 minutes getting me there for what is a 60-minute trip in non-rush hour traffic. (Both New  York and Boston have access by train from many directions, by the way.)

I don’t know of a more stressful life that people deliberately enter other than joining Delta Force or the Navy Seals (or standing through a rock concert). You can see the stress on the faces of the drivers (except those who are texting, reading, or putting on makeup). It’s a horrid way to begin or end a day. You arrive at work or at home worn out and angry. There is always someone trying to gain an advantage that doesn’t exist, and the insane bikers (especially in LA) motivate you to open your door as they whiz by with two inches of clearance or cut you off at the lights.

In this age or electronic wizardry, why do people commute at the same times every day, increasing their stress levels and damaging their health? Maybe they all need the Paleo Diet….

© Alan Weiss 2014


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