When we moved last summer, my commute time home tripled. All of a sudden I was one of “those people”. Commuters. People who are stuck in their cars for an hour or more, desperate to find ways to pass the time. I am no longer surprised that people eat, put on make-up, or chat on cell phones while driving. When you’re crawling along at fifteen miles per hour, the temptation to do other things is almost irresistible.
After about three days I lost all interest in the radio. Other than tuning in “on the 4’s” to catch the traffic updates, I realized that the rest of the news updates were just recycled over and over again. Music stations had too many commercials and I don’t have satellite radio.
Many friends recommended books on tape. Or, in this day and age, books on CD. I tried it a few times. The problem is, when I read, I get lost in the book. Seriously. My kids joke that if the house was on fire and I was in the middle of a book, someone would have to drag me out because I would be blissfully unaware that flames were licking at my toes. When I listen to a book in the car, the same thing happens. I find myself immersed in the story, and I reach my destination without any clear memory of my journey. I have a feeling that level of distraction is probably not great when I’m navigating a 3000 pound vehicle.
Then my son suggested podcasts. Fantastic idea. Once I figured out how to download them and sync them to my IPod, I was in heaven. I have downloaded everything from every NPR show I could find, to Dave Ramsey and his financial advice, to gardening gurus, foreign language lessons, and snippets from the Ellen DeGeneres show.
I’m still not thrilled with the commute. But until I figure out to teleport myself the twenty miles between work and home, at least I have some company for the ride. And maybe I can become rich, grow vegetables, impress my friends with my intellectual knowledge, and have a few laughs, all without leaving the comfort of my Honda CRV.