Ever witness another driver who has completely disrespected the concept of parking spaces? Now there’s a way to let this person know how you really feel!
In the caveman days (i.e. up until now) drivers with words to say about your parking would have to resort to scribbling a profane message on the back of a crumpled receipt to leave on your windshield. Or if you’re me you don’t get a note but rather you get your windshield wiper ripped off in rage… because I maybe one time parked too close to another car but was seriously just running into Macy’s for 2 minutes and it was the only open space I could find and I thought I’d be back before the other driver returned. (I learned my lesson.)
Anyways, now there’s a program that lets you text people who suck at parking by using their license plate #. It’s call CurbTxt, and it’s only in San Francisco right now, but other cities might see the potential and soon it could remedy the problem of bad parking jobs everywhere!
The problem is that it’s opt-in only (kind of has to be…) so if people don’t know about it and sign up, you won’t be able to tell them what a shitty attempt at parallel parking that was.
As excited as I am about my new MINI cobe, it’s not easy to say goodbye to the original Cobe Car, the car I grew up with, my Mazda Protege. Time to get emotional.
That car got me to 1st period on time (almost) every day in high school. That car earned me my first (and so far, my only…) speeding ticket. Led me to concert venues to see bands I’m too embarrassed to mention now. Gave me a space for heart-to-hearts, petty arguments, and existential conversations that were entirely beyond my level of maturity. Set the scene for first kisses, goodbye kisses, awkward dates, and miserable breakups. That car took me on unforgettable road trips that fostered inside jokes and amplified uncontrollable laughter. It was my rehearsal stage for big presentations and speeches, my hideaway during emotional breakdowns, and my dining room in-transit for meals on the go.
It transformed into an imaginary karaoke bar for bad singalongs, and stood by as my schizophrenic musical tastes evolved through Top 40, Emo, Alt Rock, Pop Country, Indie Rock, Classic Rock, Motown, Folk Rock, and back to Indie Rock again. That car fought to keep the tradition of mixed tapes alive, with a glove compartment full of homemade, sharpie-decorated CDs that eventually lost their place to the iPod connector I shoved in the cigarette lighter.
That car traveled to college with me, reminded me of home when I was homesick, and stood it’s ground during football season to host tailgates in between SUVs and pick-up trucks. It kept me safe in my first car accident. Endured undeserved foul language when my keys were “accidentally” locked inside in the middle of nowhere on a camping trip, kept me warm when I got stuck in a ditch during a blizzard, and forgave me each and every time I hit a curb and got a flat tire.
It held crammed boxes and oddly shaped breakables intact when I moved my life to Raleigh. Inspired me to start I Love Commuting. And put up with all of my whining and complaining when in reality I had nothing to whine about. Even despite my maintenance neglect, she always got me where I needed to go. We got lost together and we found our way together. And for that, the Cobe Car can never truly be replaced.
When I brought MINI Cobe home, my parents resumed ownership of the Mazda, in hopes that they could get a few hundred bucks for it from CarMax. But first I had to clean it out.
When it comes to my car, I generally try to avoid using the backseat as a closet. I kept it fairly neat and free of debris. So imagine my surprise when after all is said and done, I walk away with this collection of treasures:
-Two keepsake graduation tassels: (1) LCB Skyhawk Blue, (1) JMU Purple & Gold -One plastic hair clip -One toothpick, in plastic wrap -One button -One bobby pin -Three clear glass vase filler beads -One orange paper clip -Two strips of velcro remnants from an EZPass -One metallic green origami crane, made by yours truly from a Stride gum wrapper -One mechanical pencil, no lead -One plastic keychain with Richmond cab numbers -One purple JMU ballpoint pen -One-hundred and twenty-seven pennies -Six quarters -Three nickels -Four dimes
Not Pictured: -Two plastic water bottles -One bungee cord -One Sheetz coupon for a free MTO item (!!!!!!) -One brown pea coat -One Abercrombie & Fitch Shopping Bag (shirtless male model edition) -One, never opened, Auto Emergency Kit -One navy blue travel umbrella -Three maps: (1) Washington D.C. circa 1998, (1) Downtown Richmond, (1) Southeastern States
When I first set out to find a new car, I did not imagine that I would be writing a down payment check 8 days later. I fully planned to take my time, consider all of my options, go for multiple test drives, read reviews, do the math to anticipate financing scenarios, and everything else that goes into making a completely rational decision.
That clearly didn’t happen the way I thought it would.
On the eighth day of my car shopping mission, I visited Crown MINI of Richmond. I had no real intention of buying a MINI because I thought it would be too expensive, but I figured why not take a test drive just for fun?
When I walked through the lot scanning the inventory, I tried my best to look only moderately interested, playing hard to get if you will. What happened next was essentially love at first sight, followed by an irrational impulse to leave together immediately. I spotted a 2012 Hot Chocolate Cooper Hardtop, no racing stripes, black roof, minimal as far as design goes, but it was the manifestation of everything I wanted in a car. Different, but not obnoxious. Premium, but not extravagant. Small, but not impractical. And to my pleasant surprise, affordable, but certainly not cheap.
I handed over my info for a credit check, and less than 12 hours later MINI cobe and I were driving back to Raleigh.
After spending hours online researching cars, I’ve narrowed down my “short” list to the following vehicles:
Honda Fit Mini Cooper Kia Rio Toyota Yaris Hatchback Mazda 2 Mazda 3 Subaru Impreza Volkswagen Golf Ford Focus
Now, it’s time to get serious.
In the last 3 days, I’ve visited over 8 car dealerships, test driving each of the above cars. With the exception of the Kia and the Subaru, because those dealerships didn’t have the cars on the lot…. pretty dumb move on their end. How do you expect to sell cars if you don’t have them for people to test drive! Idiots.
Let me just say that I kind of hate car manufacturer websites.
I’ve been to every website of almost every make of car I think I might consider. And I can’t remember which ones I like and which ones I don’t, so I have to go back to the website to figure out what were the pros and cons of each.
Almost all of them seem to have some type of comparison tool, but of course they are different on every site and they suck on every site. It’s like they try to cram every little detail, even the ones that make no sense and are probably on every car that exists and all I want to know is whether or not there’s an audio input for my mp3 player.
I wish there were car personal shoppers that would do all the work for you that you don’t have to pay (like travel agents).
To help me narrow down my list, there are few things I have determined to be mandatory and not at all mandatory for my perfect car.
Things I’m looking for:
-Hatchback (had to start somewhere, and I like the way they look.) -Automatic transmission (I’d love to drive a manual for the cool-factor of knowing how to drive a manual, but unfortunately car salesmen really don’t want to take the time to show you how it’s done.) -Power windows and locks (this should be a given these days.) -Cruise Control (I am shocked at how many cars don’t include cruise control as a standard feature. I loveeee using cruise control and I’d rather not pay $1,000 extra to have it) -Volume controls on the steering wheel (this won’t make or break my decision, but it’s nice when a car has them. I consider this to be a “safety feature.”) -Good gas mileage (“good” is negotiable) -Center console or armrest (I just like it)
And I want all of this at or around the $20-$25K price point (No Audi’s, BMWs, or Mercedes for me)
Things I don’t care about:
-Sunroof/moonroof (Doesn’t really make a difference to me one way or the other. This seems to me like a place where I can save some cash by opting out of one.) -Navigation system (I have a GPS system - that is a piece of crap - but I’ve heard that the in-dash systems aren’t that reliable anyway. Again, another added cost that I’d like to avoid.) -Rims (Don’t even get me started.) -Heated seats (I bet these are nice in the winter, but I’ve never had them before and I’m pretty sure I could live without them.) -Floor mats (why does every car dealer try to throw in fancy floor mats for hundreds of extra dollars? My car is going to get dirty, especially on the floor. I can deal with that.) -Satellite radio (I am conditioned to listen to my iPod so I don’t mess around with satellite radio.) -4-wheel or all-wheel drive (if it’s snowing outside, I’m not leaving my house, therefore, I do not need all-wheel drive or all-terrain tires or cold weather tread, etc.) -Automatic rain sensing windshield wipers (I CAN SEE WITH MY OWN EYEBALLS IF IT’S RAINING OUTSIDE. YOU’RE OFFENDING ME.)
Like I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve decided that the time has come to start getting serious about buying a new car.
Let me preface this by saying that I have zero experience in purchasing a vehicle.
The original Cobe Car was bought by my lovely parents, Mamacobe and Papacobe, in 2002 when I was 17 years old. It was a used car, but was in excellent condition and had very few miles on it. My parents had a budget they wanted to stick to, but other than that they welcomed my input on the type of vehicle I wanted to drive.
From what I can recall, I pretty much just wanted a 4-door automatic with airbags, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and a CD player. For a seventeen year old girl, I was pretty practical-minded. I was never the type of teenager who wanted a “cool” car (however, in the early 2000’s in Chesterfield Virginia, “cool” basically meant a Ford Mustang.)
Now, let’s jump back to present day.
In my experience working in the advertising industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a few different assignments related to the car category, and the shopping experience has been one of the areas that I am responsible for dissecting and understanding.
In other words, part of my job is to empathize with those who are actively shopping for a car, understand what makes them attracted to some car brands over others, and how they make decisions throughout the car buying process.
Yet, when it comes time for me to buy a car myself, I have absolutely no idea what kind of car I want or where I should start.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Finding the next Cobe Car is going to be a serious endeavor, not to mention a huge slice of my savings account, so I want to be extremely confident about the car I choose.
There’s about a month and a half left in 2011, and my goal is to have my new car by 2012. This does not give me much time to research, test drive, and figure out financing, but I think it can be done.
Let’s just hope Cobe Car version 1.0 can make it through Christmas. Wish me luck.
I’m not the most thoughtful driver when it comes to car maintenance.
Case in point: In the last year, I’m pretty sure I’ve only had 1 or 2 oil changes (Come to think of it, it was almost one year ago exactly). Which probably isn’t good for my car. But today I woke up extra early (meaning I set my alarm extra early but still woke up at the same time I normally do…), gathered my AAA Car Care Center coupons that I’ve been hoarding for months, and took the Cobe Car in for the oil change she deserved.
Not only does the AAA Car Care center have really excellent chairs in the waiting area, but they were extremely pleasant and nice, and made the experience quite painless. That is, until I got the report card for my car. Granted, I knew this was coming, but hearing it was still hard….The Cobe Car is not doing well.
She is suffering from a disease I’d like to call Acute Commuting Fatigue. Her shocks are almost non-existent, her air filter is clogging her engine to breathe correctly, she needs all four limbs (tires) replaced, the catalytic converter is not operating properly, and she’s making horrible noises and sounds of suffering that remain undiagnosed. (Other less-serious symptoms include: malfunctioning CD player, faulty power locks on both back doors, busted back speakers, a magnitude of cosmetic flaws throughout the exterior shell, and she requires a really annoying series of steps to get the windows defrosted.) But she continues to power through for the greater good of getting me to work on time.
For some of the more serious symptoms outlined above, the AAA center gave me a quote that’s somewhere around $1,500 for parts and labor, including my AAA discount (but this doesn’t include the cost of the four new tires I would need.)
I love the Cobe Car, but she is not worth $1,500. I opted out of all of the above for the time being and sheepishly handed over my credit card and my coupon for the $24.95 Holiday Oil-Change Package. Don’t judge me.
It seems inhumane (and probably unsafe) to keep the Cobe Car suffering for much longer. Therefore, starting today I am officially entering the research phase for purchasing a new vehicle.
I’ll be taking recommendations for vehicles to add to my consideration set and of course, I will be live blogging my decision-making process until I find the next Cobe Car.
Traffic was slowed down this morning due to an interesting collection of road debris.
Clothes strewn all over the highway.
Makes me wonder about the different scenarios that could have caused such a catastrophe.
1. An innocent man, accused of horrendous crimes, says goodbye to his wife, who is carrying his unborn child. In order to save his family and provide for their future, he must fake his death and remain in hiding across the Canadian border. They stage a scene across 40-W to make it appear that he has committed suicide, having walked straight into traffic, his body is seemingly destroyed and vaporized, leaving only his clothing as the evidence of his existence.
2. Two young lovers, brought together by a forbidden romance, choose to flee the city during the early hours of the morning to start a new life together. They shed their clothing and discard their belongings, as if to tell the world, “we don’t need your rules.”
3.The driver of a Kmart truck, suffering from exhaustion and dehydration, starts to nod off during his early morning shift. The hatch, improperly fastened, loosens just enough to swing the doors wide open, causing the cargo to tumble onto the asphalt. The rough winds are powerful enough to slam the doors closed before too much damage is done. But not before a palette of Jordache jeans and Route 66 tank tops are lost to the open road forever.
4. A young girl awakens on her fifteenth birthday, bouncing down the spiral staircase of her majestic suburban home, to find her smiling parents standing with mounds of gifts for her to open before school. She tears off the hot pink wrapping paper and rips open the first box, giddy with excitement. Her parents watch quietly with wide eyes, awaiting her reaction. The young girl takes one glimpse of a green cotton sweater, and suddenly she throws herself into a fit of fury. Green?!?! She wanted pink!!! Always pink. She runs to her bedroom, shouting words no fifteen year old girl should know, and in her tantrum, she gathers up as much of her closet as she can fit in her arms, storms out of the house to catch the bus, and in her grand finale of irrational drama, she chucks her wardrobe out of the emergency exit door, oblivious to the road hazards that have yet to occur, but satisfied that she has totally taught her parents a lesson.
Just my thoughts, but I guess we’ll never know for sure.
Below you might notice a change from my typical bar graph. In September I spent $40 for $50 worth of bus fare passes as motivation to start taking the bus to work more frequently. (One-way bus fare is $2.50, so theoretically I paid for 16 round-trips and got 4 free.)
Out of curiosity to see how much gas money I save as a result of riding the bus, I have accounted for my bus fare, represented by the highlighter yellow shading.
As of today (well into November), I still have about $15 of that fare that remains unused, so the difference is not quite drastic yet. I guess I need to be more diligent about taking the bus in order to see the impact on my wallet.
In the month of September, I spent $135.08 on gas & fuel, and $40 on bus fare ($175.08) In the month of October, I spent $171 even on gas & fuel. (Total: $306.08)
With that money, I could have bought:
-A phone charger and a new iPod FM adapter for the car ($80 some dollars!!!)
-A new pair of glasses and a year’s worth of contact lenses
-A wedding gift for my dear friends Danielle and Mike who were married on October 15th (Congratulations! And you will receive your belated wedding gift soon….promise!)
Hey. Remember two months ago when I said I was going to write a four part series on eating in cars and then never followed through? I’m going to try again.
Starting with Part Two: Motivations that justify eating in the car.
Eating while driving has become a bit of a pastime for me over the years. But admittedly the meals/snacks/treats I’ve enjoyed in the Cobe Car are rarely consumed out of necessity (e.g. in a rush/on the go/on a road trip, etc.) The majority of time spent eating in my car is usually for no other reason than I’m really hungry and can’t possibly wait the amount of time it takes to drive 5 more miles, park my car, and go inside to eat dinner at my kitchen table like a normal person.
My top situational motivations for eating while driving are as follows:
1. Satisfy my animalistic instinct to gorge on fast food
4. Just really excited about the lunch I packed for work
I’d like to go ahead and coin the term Satiated Dissonance as a phrase that shall be used to describe that feeling you get after fulfilling your craving to eat in the car, which is immediately followed by a self-hatred/regret/disgust/motion sickness type of reaction. I’ll go into more detail about this sad, empty feeling in “Part Four: The ups and downs of eating in cars,” but for now, just keep in mind that no matter how strong the urge, you won’t be happy with yourself after you shove a donut into your mouth in order to free up both hands to make a sharp U-turn, only to get powdered sugar and crumbs all over your shirt and your steering wheel.
Unfortunately, the adapter that plays my iPod through my car stereo has died.
I spent the first drive sans iPod in cold silence, reflecting on my loss.
But in my effort to move on, I’ve spent the last few days dialed into the classic rock radio station in my area, and I now feel like an expert on the subject and would like to serve up the following tips on how to start your own classic rock radio station:
1. Give your radio station a name that signifies tranquil, simpler times but with a slight edge so as not to be confused with a neighboring easy-listening station.
Acceptable monikers: 101.4 The River, 106.7 The Wave, 102.8 The Rapid (The relationship between music and the symbolism of water is very powerful for listeners.)
1a. Don’t forget your tag line.
"Home of Rock N’ Roll," "All the Classic Hits You Love," Or "All Rock, All The Time" are appropriate choices.
2. Appeal to several different audiences by following a loose interpretation of “Classic Rock” when building your playlist.
Including but not limited to: Jewel, John Cougar Mellencamp, The Pixies, Savage Garden, and Lenny Kravitz.
3. Inspirational quotes are a must-have in between commercials and set changes.
Make your listeners feel good about life by leaving them with poetic and thought-provoking lines such as “The only thing wrong with happy people is that they have not known the joy of tears.”
3a. Have your radio hosts make positive affirmations several times an hour.
Use phrases such as “What a beautiful day it is!” and “From all of us here at the station, we hope you have a magical weekend!”
4. Make sure to have a healthy balance of variety in your programming.
A recommended ratio is 20 minutes of taking calls from your listeners seeking life advice for every 15 minutes of actual music played.
I celebrated my one year anniversary at McKinney on Tuesday September 20, which appropriately was also the day of my first “business trip.”
I was naively excited, like a child going to the state fair for the first time— at first everything is bright and shiny, and then you notice the dried puke on the rusty rollercoaster. Not fun.
On Tuesday morning, I sprung out of my bed at precisely 5:00am and within 10 minutes I was dressed and ready to go in my business profesh attire (we’ll talk more about this later). I arrived at the airport an hour before my scheduled boarding time — and I hadn’t even had any coffee yet.
On the plane, I settled into my spacious window seat and for the duration of the flight to Grand Rapids, Michigan I enjoyed a few chapters of the book I’m reading, drank my airline coffee and ate my Delta SkyMiles brand cookies. Bliss.
My honeymoon phase with traveling for business quickly ended the next day when I woke up in my hotel room at 6am, totally dreading my day full of meetings followed by hopping on a plane back to Raleigh. It made me miss my simple, usually undramatic commute to work.
On the journey back from Michigan to Raleigh I realized the shortcomings of my business-travel-savviness.
First of all, I do not own the correct luggage/carry-on baggage to be a convincing business traveler. I have a great set of luggage that was given to me as a graduation gift by my parents, but as most things are from Costco, the suitcases are huge. I felt that it was impractical to check a bag for an overnight trip, so I borrowed a duffel bag from my roommate that could easily fit into an overhead compartment. It was annoying to carry and did not bode well for my easily-wrinkable dress shirts.
Second of all, was my misfired attempt to present myself as business professional. I’ve gotten so used to the casual dress environment of the advertising industry that I completely missed out on what the rest of Corporate America wears to work. I did my best, and I’m sure what I wore was perfectly fine for the purposes of this trip, but I really need to invest in some clothes that are somewhat conservative, stylish, and COMFORTABLE. To save space in my duffel bag, I decided to wear the same shoes both days. I opted for flats, which I believed would be a safe, comfortable choice…but after walking from gate A3 to gate A74 in the Detroit airport, I am convinced otherwise.
Third of all, airline coffee is disgusting, what was I thinking?!
Before I pass along my wisdom re: eating in cars, I must first establish my expertise in this area.
If you think about it, 10 years of driving means that theoretically I’ve had over 3,000 opportunities to eat meals in my car. (9,000 if you follow the 3-meals a day norm…and exponentially more if you factor in non-meals/additional meals!)
Realistically, I know there is absolutely no way that I have come anywhere close to meeting or exceeding this number of opportunities. (Come on, my life isn’t that sad.) I just wanted to illustrate the point that I, like many commuters, spend a shit load of time in the car and sometimes we get hungry!
I may not be able to give you conclusive numbers to validate my level of expertise, but if you could see the condition of my cars’ upholstery and floor mats, brought on by excessive crumb damage, you wouldn’t be questioning me.
Now that I’ve vaguely established my credentials, let’s pause for a moment. For ethical/legal/responsible/moral/virtuous reasons, I feel like I can’t go any further until I make a safety disclaimer:
It is not safe to consume food or beverage while operating a motor vehicle. All stories and anecdotes represented in this blog are kind of fictional, although based on real and actual events. The author of these narratives is an irresponsible and unsafe driver, do not take anything she says as a literal piece of advice. If you eat in your car there is a high likelihood that you will get into an accident and your car insurance will skyrocket and the author does not want to get involved in a court case (at least until she gets a book deal).
Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started.
You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve updated my monthly gas expenditures chart. For the past few months I’ve been tearing apart my desk at home and my desk at work trying to find the piece of paper with my beautiful hand-drawn bar graph. I finally gave up on my hope to recover it and decided to start over. So imagine my surprise this morning when I open up my notebook to find a fresh piece of paper when I see…. my bar graph.
Gah I feel like an idiot.
Oh well, here is the breakdown of how much money I spent on gas & fuel this summer:
Something about June and July seems strangely inaccurate to me, but if Mint.com says it’s true, then it must be true. Maybe I wasn’t driving as much as I thought..
So in sum, this summer I spent $486.90 on gas & fuel. With that money, I could have bought:
-4 nights at a non-glamorous oceanfront resort at any of the beaches along the coastal regions of North or South Carolina -Dinner for two at a non-glamorous all-you-can-eat seafood buffet; I’m thinking one of those establishments that has a lobby that resembles a fake pirate ship when you walk inside.. don’t judge me.
After two days of riding the bus, I have to switch back to my norm of driving for a couple weeks. Work is just too busy right now and my schedule is rather unpredictable to be able to leave the office at the same time everyday.
Hopefully soon I’ll be a regular on the bus, but for now I thought I’d spend my time on the road pondering a very important subject that is near and dear to my heart.
Err, or stomach.
Eating in Cars.
For those of you who know me personally, you are probably aware of my former tumblr project, Niche Buffets (RIP). If not, then you should know that I eat a lot and I talk about eating a lot. Please do not confuse this to mean that I am a foodie, because I am no such stereotype. I typically wine and dine whilst standing in front of my refrigerator using the same plastic spork to eat my way through leftover takeout, washing it all down with delicate sips of Miller High Life. I am a binge eating advocate, and it is a natural progression for me to dedicate a portion of this blog to eating in my car.
So, where do I even begin?! There are so many things to discuss here that I think it is necessary to present a four part series on Eating in Cars.
Over the next few days/weeks/months/however soon I get around to having the time to write, you can expect an expert handbook written by yours truly on the following subtopics: (subject to change)
Part One: An Introduction to Eating in Cars.
Part Two: An infographic of foods I have eaten in my car, represented by degrees of difficulty.
Part Three: The ups and downs of eating while driving.
Part Four: Innovations the auto industry should make to better accommodate hungry drivers.
Day two of riding the bus and I already have a dramatic story to tell!
[Scene] The bus approaches the second stop on the route. There are currently less than 7 passengers sitting quietly, some drinking coffee, some reading the newspaper, others staring absently through the window . It is approximately 8:10am.
[Enter] 3 or 4 more passengers, who quickly pay their fare and take their seats quietly.
[Enter] A grumpy guy in his mid/late 20’s. After securing his expensive-looking hipster bike to the front rack on the bus, he walks on, holding a fare card and a few one dollar bills.
He puts his fare card into the machine and it’s promptly rejected. The bus driver tells him that he cannot use that card, as clearly the machine will not accept it, for whatever reason.
Disclaimer: Granted, I had a front row seat during the show that I’m about to describe in full detail, but I’m pretty sure every other passenger on the bus could see and hear every word that came next—whether they wanted to or not.
Before the driver had even completed this sentence explaining to the passenger that his fare card was no good, Grumpy snapped at him.
You ever been on a date with someone who out of nowhere turns out to be one of those people who is suddenly and irrationally rude to the waitstaff at the restaurant, making you feel utterly uncomfortable and wish that you were on a date with the cute bartender instead of the douche yelling at him? That’s what this situation was kind of like, except that I was not remotely physically attracted to either Grumpy or the bus driver, and there was no bread basket to distract me from the awkwardness.
Within 5 minutes, I learned that Grumpy had $1.50 left on his fare card (a one-way express trip is $2.50), which has consistently been rejected multiple times on Triangle Transit buses. I also learned that he came prepared with cash to pay for his fare one-way but he was totally saving it for something later that afternoon and now he was totally screwed and was going to be stranded in Durham. I also learned his real name (we’ll still call him Grumpy to protect his identity), his phone number, and his e-mail address.
I learned all of this about Grumpy without actually speaking a word to him or making eye contact.
After he finished chewing out the bus driver, he took a seat next to me, and proceeded to call the Triangle Transit customer service line to bitch about his terrible inhumane experience and in particular, how violated he felt to be treated so disrespectfully by the bus driver. All of this conversation was happening at a decibel that allowed the entire bus to listen in on every word he said.
Granted it was 8am and I dont know whats going on in his personal life, but come on.
Well everyone, it finally happened. I took the bus to work.
I live about 3 blocks from the bus stop, which equates to a ten minute walk at a leisurely, comfortable pace.
This is awesome for two reasons: 1. It’s a manageable amount of exercise. Not quite hard enough to break a sweat or raise my heart rate, but enough walking to justify my lifestyle choices of not having a gym membership and eating an obscene amount of Chick-fil-A. 2. I get to see Downtown Raleigh in the daylight. I see plenty of the Raleigh nightlife scene, but I rarely get to experience the city when the sun is out.
The bus departs at exactly 8:05am. Which means I need to be out of my door by 7:52ish. This schedule demands a bit more discipline when it comes to waking up when my alarm actually goes off at 6am, rather than my customary 5-7 snooze button naps.
So let me tell you about my first day on the bus!
I was really excited about having the opportunity to catch up on some reading. I managed to consume about 8 pages of the book I’ve been trying to finish for a month, and then I started to feel a little nauseous (partially due to motion sickness and partially due to the graphic and disturbing storyline in my novel.) I was always one of those kids who tried to read in the backseat of mom’s car during a road trip, but inevitably always felt like crap while doing so.
I decided to use the remainder of the ride to sit back and close my eyes and hopefully let the motion sickness subside. It was nice not having to worry about paying attention to the road, but I definitely lost all alertness and energy and drifted back to sleep momentarily. I hate feeling drowsy after I’ve already woken myself up and had 1.5 cups of coffee, but there was little I could do to combat that this morning.
(And on a random side note, despite the fact that it was 8:30 in the morning, I couldn’t help but have intense thoughts about lasagna during my mini-nap… weird.)
As much as a I don’t like drinking coffee after I brush my teeth in the AM, I think I’m going to have to start bringing a mug with me on the bus. But on the bright side, I do own this particular travel mug that doesn’t get used nearly enough:
Total travel time from door to door: about an hour and ten minutes.
It takes more time than hopping in my car and driving straight to Durham, but I think I’ll have a lot less to complain about and a lot more gas money in my wallet.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I happen to work directly across the street from the Durham Bulls baseball stadium.
(No, I haven’t been to a game yet, but I can see the field from the window closest to my desk.)
Being that the office is directly across the street from the stadium, it makes sense that our parking garage is used for attendee parking, at $4 per car.
Because it’s Summer, there have been several games each week, and I always seem to leave the office as soon as everyone is arriving on game day.
This is annoying for several reasons.
The first being that it doubles the time it takes me to get out of the deck and onto the road, because they have people directing traffic and they always seem to ignore me.
The second thing is just the general influx of pedestrian traffic. Something about baseball games makes me really hate pedestrians. Especially if they’re a family of 4 to 6, wearing matching t-shirts, and holding hands while crossing the street directly in front of my car when the sign clearly says DON’T WALK.
But the thing that realllly gets on my nerves is when I see people go to extreme measures to avoid paying FOUR DOLLARS to park their car for the stupid baseball game.
LIKE THIS GUY.
Now, I am certainly one to circle the block once or twice in search of a spot on the street before I give up and settle for the pay to park option, but really?!
Not because of traffic, but because of my aching body.
I consider myself to be a moderately clumsy person, but living in a new, unfamiliar place makes me completely more accident prone. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has bumped into a piece of furniture in the dark because I forgot it was there, or accidentally dropped a box of books on my foot… That stuff happens. It’s normal.
What happened to me last night though is a bit more ridiculous.
Let me start at the beginning.
When I opted to make the switch from an apartment to a house, I was well-aware of the compromises I was making. I traded in the “urban luxury” of a fancy studio apartment in favor of a 50-year-old house with beautiful hardwood floors, a lot more soul, and a lot more space.
(A lot more space with the exception of the shower.)
Ladies, you can probably sympathize with my predicament; Gentlemen, you’ll just have to trust me on this. But it is nearly impossible to shave your legs in a stall shower.
I attempted to channel my inner freshman girl to remember how it was done when I lived in a dorm, but I still haven’t found a solution.
I tried the balance-on-one-foot-while-extending-the-other-while-simultaneously-trying-not-to-slip-and-tear-down-the-shower-curtain-that’s-already-too-long-for-this-size-shower strategy.
I tried the stand-up-on-both-feet-and-bend-with-a-slight-lunge-action-while-trying-not-to-get-the-stream-of-water-from-the-shower-head-in-your-eyes strategy.
I tried the turn-off-the-water-and-sit-down-on-the-floor-that’s-not-wide-enough-to-sit-down-in strategy.
And lastly, I opted for the get-out-of-the-shower-and-shave-your-legs-at-the-sink-while-trying-to-hold-up-your-towel-and-hope-that-your-neighbors-don’t-see-you-naked-and-shaving-your-legs-in-the-sink-like-an-idiot strategy.
Needless to say, I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle or two. And coupled with the painful splinter I got after walking around barefoot on the beautiful hardwood flooring, my body was not feeling awesome on the drive into work this morning.
Now would probably be a good time to revisit those yoga DVDs I bought in January.
Fair warning ahead: I’m going to be one of those people who say something along the lines of: it’s a new week! it’s a new month! new beginnings! fresh start! blah blah blah etc.
Not only is it Monday, and the 1st of a new month, and my first post in god knows how long, but it’s also Day 1 of commuting to work from MY NEW HOUSE.
Yep, I moved!
But unfortunately, I’m not any closer to work than I was 10 months ago.
As I mapped out my new route to work this morning, I started thinking back to my original objective, and I must say, I’ve done a pretty good job of achieving these totally ambiguous and unmeasurable goals thus far. But in the end, I decided that staying in Raleigh and enduring the commute was a much better (read: selfish and irresponsible) decision for me than moving to Durham and saving hundreds of dollars and hours of time.
So yes, I will be continuing this blog. (half a dozen loyal readers rejoice!)
As you may have noticed by my lack of posting, there really hasn’t been much to tell in the traffic department. There’s been the occasional slow down over the past several weeks, but in general I’ve been experiencing a solid 32-minute drive every day.
However, now that I’ve moved to a new place exactly 0.8 miles from my previous address, my drive time may or may not change significantly.
I can’t really give an accurate report for a new drive time on Day 1 due to this really dramatic and exciting high-speed police chase that ruined my streak of uninterrupted commutes. This is where I would typically include one of my signature illustrations/diagrams, but I haven’t gotten around to unpacking my pen/paper/scanner yet. Apologies.
With that said, I’m going to spend the remainder of this week’s commutes experimenting with the various routes I can choose from, and hope to report in full detail what we can expect to see in my future adventures in commuting.