Commute is a meaningful part of our work life, for me in my 15+ years work, I had commute most of time except in 2 cases: 1) I lived very close to work for 1 year; 2) I worked from home for 15 months. St. Louis rush hour traffic is not as bad as Los Angeles or Beijing, in my case my commute usually takes between 15, 20 min to 35 min (10 to 25 miles) one way. Also I am lucky in the sense I was against the traffic most the time.
Initially I listened to NPR, e.g., morning edition, all things considered when driving, it helped my English listening comprehension. Since last June I listened more podcast or music for the 30+ min drive.
I got into one accident at riverport drive about 10 years ago. Someone went to work in a hurry at around 5 pm, and she hit me at red light. To make things worse, she drove away after the accident. The second day I was able to find her car, and called the police. But it does not help my out of pocket expense (insurance deduction), as she does not have insurance.
I did car pool in 2 cases, both not long. Once I did it with my coworker, we took turns drive, I park my car at his place when he drove. The thing is he is an early person, I had to get up early for the car pool thing. Another time I car pooled with my roommate. He worked at another company at earth city. Another downside of carpool is when I don’t drive, I don’t have the car to go out for lunch, had to pack lunch, go to cafeteria or go to Burger King which is in walking distance.
Any significant snowfall will make the commute miserable. I caught into this once partially due to my poor judgement. I took I road I don’t drive normally, thought it would be less crowded. Dumb mistake. It was less travelled and the crew did not get to it, huge snow pile. Near my home I made the same mistake again, I tried to drive uphill, but my car slipped. I got some help from the people nearby and was able to drove over the hill. After couple more dumb mistakes trying to make short cuts and almost got the car stuck in snow, eventually I was able to make it almost home, I only needed one left turn on the drive way. And my car got stuck in snow. My neighbors tried to push the car, we still cannot get out. So we had to left the car there. After that incident I think I had much more respect on snow, in terms of its effect on driving. As one of my coworker said, highway 70 is a giant parking lot. True. We as human beings are just powerless in the face of Mother Nature, be it snow or flood. This Jan we just had a major flood in the area.
A few years ago I did work from home for a full time job for 15 months. The results is mixed, I think it has both plus and minus. Working from home or flexible work has becoming more popular these days for many white collar jobs. Many companies support this idea and some form of remote work days. But as the way most companies setup and human interaction go, I think we still need to go to office and work with coworkers on some of the days. Not to mention many jobs that require people go to office. In other cases, working from home crowd sometimes miss the chitchat at office, and we have the co-working place popping up. So I think commute will still play an important role in our daily work life. As time goes we will have more fuel efficient cars, or maybe even driverless cars. In the latter case we can watch YouTube while go to work. Let the computer (or robot) do the driving 🙂