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comment by zebra2
zebra2  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: These Germans Who Swim To Work Are Happier Than You

As a counterpoint, I actually do enjoy my drive to work. The morning commute is probably my favorite part of the day. I avoid the freeway almost entirely and take the Arrow Highway for 15 or so miles, which of course makes it much better than gridlock. But in that time I get to jam music in my car/listen the the college radio around here (which I adore), enjoy the breeze (if there is any), appreciate the rain (on the rare occasion there is any), or blast AC otherwise. Plus I generally enjoy driving. I have a relatively fun car (Saab). It has the same engine they put in jets, seriously (I'm lying). So during my commute I get to hug the curves of that straight-as-fuck road littered with stoplights.

cW  ·  276 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I appreciate the perspective, zebra2. And truth be told, I totally relate about the joy of driving in ideal (or simply not horrible) conditions. I like g forces, going fast, and combining those sensations with good music, and the sights, sounds, smells, etc., of the world I'm passing through. Celebrating that set of experiences is a totally worthy endeavor. Having a fun car really helps, as does living somewhere gridlock doesn't make a mockery of one's fine engine. (If we could watch the commercials of professional drivers on private tracks in the Alps or wherever while sitting in traffic, then the closed loop of self-parody would truly be complete).

I just wish it weren't increasingly (though surely not in all places) the only form of personal transit deemed acceptable, respectable, and therefore, protected and effectively sponsored by our society. We have zero public transit where I live, too, so the automobile pretty much has a monopoly on getting from point A to point B. Even walking (which I love, but many seem to sneer or gawk at as if it were a disgustingly plebeian undertaking) can't get me past the edge of town safely.

We might have developed our infrastructure to permit and encourage multiple forms of transportation -- the really fun, fast, mechanized, motorized ones, and the slower, user-powered, and inexpensive ones (travelling styles that actually improve health more than they threaten it). For the most part, we didn't, though. Maybe Fordism really is the better name for our type of economy, as Gramsci apparently put it. Either way, the route back to diverse, egalitarian transit seems now about as laborious as it is unpopular.

moslydeaf  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I drive 10-20 hours ever Monday through sunday and dont find it to displeasing as well. Lots of time to catch up on audiobooks and podcasts. I will say it would be nice if I never had to drive more than 8 hours in a day but what can you do?

cW  ·  276 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes, audiobooks/podcasts have been the saving grace of many a road trip for us! I really do enjoy the time machine effect. I also sometimes marvel that the best way to endure the experience (as a body forced to sit still, but taut, for long periods of time) is to escape the body into the mind. Highways are designed to facilitate this trick, but I think also made to curve just often enough to avoid totally mesmerizing every driver into catatonia. It's one of the senses where our desire for pleasure/utility play a game of chicken with our bodily wellness.