Nine years ago, when we began looking in earnest for work that was within a reasonabe commuting distance from our cabin, the question arose about what would be reasonable. Living in Northern Virginia, only 2 miles from the hospital at which I worked and 4 miles from the nursing home at which Linda worked, this would be a consideration. The closest health facilities were 45 to 60 minutes away. Then one evening, I spent 30 min. waiting to go through 4 lights around Landmark Mall, 395, and 236/Beuregard Street less than a half mile from home.
There was no accident or police activity slowing up the commute home, just congestion around the freeway and stores, none of which I wanted to use. We eventually accepted positions for the same employer, with an understanding that we would work the same days and hours. Our commute would be 60 miles each way. I would drive in and Linda would drive home. We have been “car pooling” ever since.
When we turned in our resignations and made announcements to co-workers about our plans to move to our cabin, the question often arose, “You are going to drive how far?”. Our response was that the first stop light was 45 minutes into the drive. During the 8+ years that we have driven this route, only 3 times have we had delays because of accidents or emergency vehicles on the road. In the metropolitian areas, accidents occur every day and can back up freeways and side roads for hours. One’s commute could be 20 minutes on a good day and 2 hours the rest of the days.
Our second response was that we would be commuting together, so we had the privelege as a couple of spending two hours of undivided time together. That received blank stares to grimmaces. How many couple could enjoy two hours of time togehter each day? Okay, so one and a half, if I fall asleep. Unfortunately, we watch so many couples gripe and argue when together, or running parallel lives with little time interacting.
A benefit that we did not ancipate, but enjoy regularly is watching the scenery. We drive through farm valleys, bypassing the interstate for back roads. This time of year, we enjoy watching the sunrise in ever changing pallets, which “if you painted that, no one would believe those colors”. Other times of the year, we enjoy sun sets. While absorbing the sunrise recently, I thought how this light would not have been there 5 minutes ago and will be different in 5 minutes hence. Then I thought how those folks communiting in the metropolitian area 100 miles east saw the same sun, but at a different angle, probably with complaints about it glaring in their eyes as they snaked around some accident. And, how those folks 100 miles west did not have the pleasure of the salmon glow quiet yet. A few miles and a few years gives us completely different perspectives, whether regarding sunrises, relationships, commuting, or lifestyle.
P.S. This morning, we got up at 4 a.m. to sit by the window, watching the Quadrantids meteor shower, over the northeast horizon (e.g. garage). We spent 1 1/2 hours together in the dark, pointing out shooting stars, incorrectly naming constellations, and chatting about whatever came to mind. A well spend time of the morning, with a pot of coffee.