Posts Tagged: commuting

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Friday the 13th, 2013.
I awake around 7am to the sound of mass emails arriving in my work inbox. It’s the sound of concerned co-workers sending warnings of the morning’s road closures to all those who made the life decision to commute from Raleigh to Durham each day.

The news?
Highway 147 has been closed completely due to some kind of power line tragedy — in both directions. 

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So being the expert commuter that I am, I made sure to research the most efficient alternate route.  I’m aiming to be at work at 9am, so I leave an hour early, just to be safe. I’m feeling confident that I will avoid any residual back-ups with my well-thought-out alternate route.

All is going well 20 minutes into the drive, and I reach route 70.
And that’s when the cars stop.
Clearly, my influential commuterism tactics have spread throughout the Triangle, and thousands of others also selected the same alternate route to Downtown Durham.

At this point, it’s 35 minutes into my drive, but I am still optimistic that i can still be at work by 9am.
The minutes pass by like molasses and I realize I’ve only made it through one stop light.

20 minutes later, I’ve made it  2.5 miles to the next side road that will get me to Downtown Durham.

My Google maps app tells me I’m only 5 minutes away now.
It’s now 9:05.
I think I can still make it to my meeting.

That’s when I see the train.
It’s a fairly small train, I can see all the cars in one view, so I figure it won’t take long for it to pass.
But the train stops.

60 seconds go by.

Then the train begins to move backwards.

And then it stops.

Another 60 seconds go by.

Then it begins to move forward again.

I think we all know where this is going.

So after about 10 minutes of stop, back, stop, forward, stop, etc.
the train passes, and I think I’m free.
But there’s a red light where I need to go straight.

The longest red light of my life.

At 9:30, I stroll into the office.
Total drive time: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The office is buzzing with other survival stories of this morning’s commuting nightmare, while the iPhones are buzzing with texts and emails of the less-fortunate ones who still remain stuck in a line of traffic that may never end.

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Remember the spilled yogurt tragedy of 2012?
Now another dairy related traffic incident has taken place- this time in Norway. 

I think BuzzFeed said it best:

Read about the incident here.

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Or parking rage that is.

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. 

Check out this article or visit CurbTxt here.

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Thinking about moving to Russia after hearing that people are commuting via a trampoline path. So rad. 

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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.

MINI Cobe certainly has big shoes to fill.

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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 

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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.