The Commuter

I’ve felt more permutations of opinion towards my now not-so-new commute than I’d care to admit. Before moving on to my new hospital I lived less than a mile down the road from the hospital, and it was good. I could, under pressure, be bed-to-ward in fifteen minutes.

Now it’s more like an hour and fifteen minutes. Initially, in the heady days of summer and with a new car to drive my motivation I rather enjoyed the journey – a 45 minute drive, followed by a fifteen minute walk through dappled sunlight; off road, quiet. I read books as I walk and I’d get through a book or so a week. My job was easy, and overstaffed (summertime makes respiratory a lot easier) and so sometimes I’d get to come home early. I listened to a radio full of topical discussions or a playlist full of my currently-favoured music and feel that the drive had benefited me in some way.

As time has gone by I have become less enamoured of my commute. Its gaping jaws swallow two hours of my day. I walk under spitting skies with my yearning for books frustrated by their hydrophilia. In the evening the way is shut and I walk home in the dark, by road, in areas I do not fully trust. I am alert and scour the darkened streets for inconsistencies in behaviour, unusual sounds. I do not read. I do not use headphones. In the car I tire of music that I cannot refresh quickly enough to keep interesting and of hearing about Islamic state, political conferences and failures, yet another mass killing in yet another country. I leave home in the dark, walk for 15 minutes in the daylight and then drive home in the dark. In the evenings I lack the will to go out, exercise, work. I’m a drone, a shell, a jobbing drudge with 2 and a half more years of being railroaded by one training programme before being railroaded into the next, being fleeced for mandatory exams to the tune of, literally, thousands of pounds. Bring on the summer again, please.

rainI wish the clocks hadn’t changed.

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5 responses to “The Commuter

  1. You read whilst walking? I don’t think I could do that. I have no suggestions, only sympathy. Also, nicely written post.

  2. It’s grim. The dark is the worst part, I miss the sun so much. Have you heard of LUMIX alarm clocks? I love mine, it makes getting up at 6 bearable even in deepest winter.

  3. My commute varies between about 45 minutes (on a *very* good day), to about 1hr 20+ (on an average bad day), depending on which office I work out of. As long as the roads are moving freely I actually quite like a longish commute, as long as it’s not regularly over an hour. I listen to music from my phone over bluetooth (can’t stand radio), I quite enjoy the drive, and it acts as a good “buffer” between work and home. I find that the hour or so is good thinking time to plan for the day on the way into work, and then to digest things on the way back so that I’m not thinking about work by the time I get home. Not sure I’d ever like to live *too* close to work, 30 minutes would probably be the lower limit.

    That said, the combination of darker evenings and any weather that’s less than perfect has made the traffic much worse at the moment. It usually clears up by about February when things start getting noticeably lighter, but until then it’s painful.

  4. @mrsjamesbarry: I have a Lumie alarm clock – don’t know if that’s the same thing but it gives me a fake sunrise to enjoy…ish. It does make getting out of bed a lot easier though, not sure if I’d make it without it.

    @peachylau: I’ve taken to listening to a lot of radio comedy shows on iPlayer etc – a bit of comedy makes even the grimmest traffic jam more bearable! I’ve not gotten into podcasts at all – maybe I ought to take a look!

    @Dickie: I used to quite enjoy my commute, but it’s grown tired. I don’t think I’d mind so much if I could leave work and go home and that would be that. Sadly, what with exam revision and eportfolio this is not the case and I feel like the commute is just more work-related time eaten out of my evening. I also generally listen to music off my phone (bluetooth ftw) but I make concessions for Radio 4. John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme is brilliant.

    Of course, the current average-speed-camera roadworks with closed lanes, and the ensuing morning chaos, is also less-than-conducive to my driving pleasure…

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