Friday, November 10, 2006

Riding in the Margins

Now that I can't commute regularly by bike to work, either because of too many scheduled events or the long drive to my winter location, I have to fit the rides into the early morning.

Dawn patrols feel virtuous. Even though I miss the sleep I lose to them, I feel a different energy, fueled by the satisfaction of having ridden at all. It keeps me going through the day and into the evening, helped no doubt by the quart or more of coffee I will suck down in the course of a normal day. I'm such a pawn to my two addictions, fitness and caffeine. It could be worse. I could be addicted to cheap sex and hard drugs, or drunk driving or just plain aggressive driving.

It's early in driving season. By February I will be completely fed up and I'll still have the long month of March to endure before I can return to bike commuting for another blissful six months. But all that lies ahead. The problem is that every year puts more young drivers on the road and a solid 30 percent or more are assholes.

Karmically speaking I can't bitch. I was just such a punk. I followed too closely. I thought I passed other cars carefully, but only as carefully as a punk driver who loved corners and curves and would do almost anything to put clear road in front of me going into them. In fact, the best four minutes of the hour drive to Jackson are the tight curves along a set of ponds on Route 153. The rest of it has become a chore. The route could be worse, but it's still an hour of my life I won't get back. I have not figured out how to combine the drive with some other necessary activity I can do from the driver's seat. Of course there are outrageous options for non-essential activities I could do while driving, but the need for them is decidedly limited. But yes, I did think of them.

I'd rather be biking.


Doug said...

I have a three-hour, each-way, drive every two weeks that I hate. Here are some ideas that help me:

- Got an ipod? Podcasts make a car commute a bit less wasted.

- Write in your head: letters, poems, songs, etc.

- Call your mother, or someone else you haven't talked to in a while. Use a headset. Dial only on long straightaways with no visible traffic.

Doug said...
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cafiend said...

iPod? I still have a WALKMAN. My car is so old, it has a tape deck, not a CD player. But it's a worthy notion. I just need to upgrade my technology.

I cut a paragraph about taking care of phone chores out of the original post. Reception is really patchy here in the hills. It's especially bad on my preferred route for the winter commute. I have called my parents along one of the sections with good signal.

If I could publish all the boss stuff I'd written in my head, I wouldn't need to keep driving to the day job. That's on top of the bushel baskets of little scraps of paper with cartoons and notes on them, collected from decades working at something other than what I really wanted to be doing.

Good thoughts, though. Driving still sucks.