Commuting

I’ve been very blessed for most of my years to not have to drive far, if at all, for work.  Most days, I can just walk the few blocks involved from my house to campus.  And I think that has left me very spoiled.

Before the reasons to commute from Bolivar to Stockton and back started this summer, I had two times of needing to do more than go across town.  Way back in the day, during the last few months of being single, between my first and second year of college, I drove the Stockton to Bolivar trip to work at McDonalds.  It is a east-west trip on 32, and I was mostly working in the mornings towards lunch rush, so I had to drive into the sunrise.  And drive home smelling like burgers and fries.  I’m not sure which was worst?

Several years later, we had been living in Bolivar for a while after my college graduation, settled into a job, and we yearned to live out in the country instead of in town.  We found a great rental, lived there for year.  Located beyond Halfway and a few miles before Buffalo on 32, it made for a decent drive time spent going back and forth.  And planning ahead for when someone would be in town to stock up on supplies was always needed.

After this experience we have spent many years owning a home near the SBU campus.  Now we only really need one vehicle, as my commute is a brief walk.  Time spent going from one important place to another is minimal.  If I tried hard enough, I could go a week without ever getting behind the wheel.

Now, I am back to the 32 route between Stockton and Bolivar, again.  Supplies need to be gathered in Bolivar, as Stockton’s resources are comparatively light.  What is just a 30 minute drive one way, far shorter than many folks have, seems to take twice or three times as long.  You gather your stuff, take care of things, drive, and once there, unpack the stuff and use the things as required.  Just like that, it is an hour and half later, and you wonder how that happened.

It make me wonder what the priorities are, should be.  Which way is best for as many as possible.  Should I stay in one place and get as much done as I can there, saving the drive for later when I am less able to write and think coherently?  Or get there as soon as possible, to enjoy the visiting time and then hope to sneak in the hours needed to get stuff done.

And I’m trying my best to not get embittered or jaded about driving.  Even during these past few months, it can feel like I am sixteen again (and that is such a long time ago!).  It is good to have the alone time to think about life, people, and everything.  While alone or with others, the rock and roll can be turned up loud and enjoyed as a time to forget about it, whatever it is. Or even celebrate it.  The visual sign of proper volume level is watching the rear-view mirror shake to the beat of the drums and thrum of the bass.  Somehow, that makes me smile every time I see it.

Yes, I’ve been spoiled by not needing to drive much.  Perhaps much of my frustration is just not dealing well with change?  Life is certainly full of change.  Living the full life before we die means changes will happen, need to be embraced and accepted.  Yet, there is comfort in repeated patterns.  On the other hand, doing things the same way, day after day can get to be boring and monotonous.  And also provide some sense of normalcy (whatever normal is or looks like, who can say?).  Somewhere in there is the balance to find, seek.

I complained about the time lost to commuting earlier this evening.  That now seems rather petty, at best.  I already had this overall concept in mind for a topic, but realizing I was being a jerk about it made it even more important to blog.  Home is where the heart is, they say.  And for good reason.  I’ve been testing that out for many weeks now, it seems.  I’d still drive any distance required to make sure that sense of home is provided, as much as possible, for those hearts which need it, that I count as precious.  In other times, we have to be content with getting that sense of home, within our own heart.  Knowing others have that same contentment.

Life is a highway / I want to ride it all night long – Tom Cochrane (a case where the original is far better than any cover).  So no more complaints about commuting.  Promise.

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~ by Neal Cross on August 10, 2010.

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