Out of my way Chad, I’m trying to beat the traffic

In order to get to your “Little Cube On The Office Prairie” obstacles tend to get in your way. None, however, are more obstacle-ish than school buses, parking garages, and lack of spots to park. Traffic can be blamed but any of us that live in a metropolitan area (I live near D.C.) already expect to be delayed. We can adjust our schedules to avoid traffic or simply take a different route to work. Can’t control the other three, ever. School buses can be on a predictable schedule but other drivers really can’t. Parking garages have limited spaces and many folks have to pay a hefty fee for the privilege of parking their car close to work. Parking itself is an obstacle when you either can’t find a space or have to squeeze your SUV into a spot made for a Volkswagen if there’s nothing left. I’ll also mention the time it takes for some of us to get to your cube from the parking garage can also vary depending on when everyone arrives. Public transportation, ie subways, metro buses, I’ll be excluding. The times for those are fairly predictable even when there’s a delay.

I live 12 miles from work with only three options to get there:

1. A toll road ($3 round trip each day)
2. A long drive that looks like a permanent detour on the map
3. A roller coaster road that scares the crap out of me because you can’t see other cars coming thanks to the hills you drive up and down on.

Option three is OUT. I don’t want to drive a road where there’s a deadly mystery on the other side of that hill. No thanks.

Option two is fairly safe and carries a hefty volume of traffic. Add school buses to that and you might want to adjust your shift hours or call ahead and say you’ll be in by Wednesday…and it’s Monday. Good thing is there’s no toll.

Option one isn’t bad but I find it ridiculous to pay to go to work and then pay to go home. Sometimes there’s no choice and drivers have to cough up the cash. The convenience is nice, no school buses and traffic moves around the speed limit, if the limit was around 12 miles an hour. Coming in today I thought I was smart in avoiding buses on the ‘detour’ road. Turns out I was just as smart as the other 40,000 drivers. The phrase “pick your lane and stay with it” is popular on the local news/talk radio station. They couldn’t be more right.

Hell on wheels…meaning the roads are in worse shape than the traffic. (Courtesy: Washington Post)

Is there a lesser of the three evils? Not really because you still have to get to work whether traffic is in the way or not.

A lot of us work on flex time, get in when you can, work your 8 hours then bolt back into traffic. A nice privilege until you hit the parking garages. The later you arrive the less spaces there are and, obviously, the less patience other drivers have. Have I seen arguments on who got to the space first? You bet. Some of the arguments get pretty heated testing the patience of the drivers waiting to find a spot. Count me in as losing patience waiting for others to get their act together. If your company has a parking garage consider yourself lucky until it’s full or shut down for maintenance. The latter I’m cool with, safety first and it doesn’t come out of my pay. The former, you can’t control that outside of adjusting your morning schedule to arrive earlier and grab a spot. I don’t like adjusting my routines but limited parking makes it necessary. The tiny parking spots you can’t control either since, more than likely, the garage was built about 40 years ago when SUVs weren’t common place. Flex time or not, it seems that everyone leaves at the same time causing a traffic jam in the garage. Shift changes can be a nightmare if you’re in a hurry…do I need to adjust my schedule for that, too? Probably.

Typical traffic in your hometown? I’m betting it is. (Courtesy of chungking / Shutterstock.com)

Although a bit dated, MarketWatch contributor Quentin Fottrell wrote an interesting piece titled 5 ways commuting ruins your life that hit home with me. The psychological aspects coupled with relationship issues and stressors can put a rough start and end to the day.

We’re on the open road, wind blowing back our hair, the sweet smell of exhaust from a semi, and the radio blathering, just to be housed in 64 square feet; one cramped space to another. No windows, plenty of noise and foot traffic, groups of people blathering as if they are a walking radio show, along with conference calls and visitors, and sitting in long lines either waiting for a parking spot or stuck on the road makes me question my I didn’t just find a random parking spot and work from my truck for the day.

What does all really mean? Nothing. Eventually it boils down to getting to my 8'x8' cube to complain about traffic and how late I have to stay to put in a full day because Chad couldn’t get his Mercedes to move any faster. Damn you Chad!!

Thanks for reading all of this and I appreciate you stopping by. I’d love to hear your experiences no matter what they may be. For more about me and what I do, here’s my website.

Cubicle Culturalist. Everyday Dude. www.j4musicandcomposition.com