Monday, December 5, 2011

A short-term project – Long drive

It was after a long weekend, I was savoring the moments of joy of the get-together we had after a long time. In this setting, I received the news that I had to take up a short-term project. The short-term project was not alone I had to think about, it accompanied with the long commute to work. 60 miles drive was part of my short term project; initially I felt can I, but there was no choice. Before the start of my actual day, I had to do some homework to commute the 60 miles daily. So far my driving distance was a max of 10-15 miles. The question I had to figure out was, what is the best and optimum route to follow. I found out there were three to four routes I can take, to start off my husband advised me to take a trial drive on one route to get an idea. On a Sunday afternoon we both started on a compatible route, quarter of the route was OK, from there started the trouble, mid-half of that route had road construction and added detours. Finally after 2 hours, I parked my car at my destination. After taking a trial on a different route, I came up with a best possible route by paying toll. First week of my drive, I had to concentrate on the road, flowing traffic, sudden lane changing, I was thinking can I really drive, as no alternative, so continued with my drive. Second week, I got the grip of drive on the long road, merging and exiting the highways, and then I thought I think I can. From then my thoughts went on to how I can I make use of the long drive. I downloaded some of the podcasts to listen on my to and fro drive. Sometimes driving time has been a best place to think through my thoughts and shape up my ideas. One such day I got the idea to put in writing about my long commute. Variety of experiences on the road made me think through the situation which I could not have imagined. My morning drive was beautiful; the rising Sun says “Hi” to me from the center of the rear mirror and accompanied me half the way of my drive (you know the direction of my drive). 
On some roads, construction workers gave break to the fast running traffic. I was amazed looking at the construction workers working in hot summer. This the time of the year they work to the full extent, which is otherwise not possible during rain or winter. I happened to see couple of turned vehicles, traffic jams, closed lanes due to multiple car accidents. I was lucky to avoid such situations with the grace of God and the help of co-vehicle drivers, be it a motor cycle, car or 18 wheeler truck. One evening, it was the first drizzle of the season, I was struck in a traffic jam due to multiple car accident couple of miles ahead of me. I was on the cross roads of exiting a highway and trying to merge onto another highway. It was an elevated ramp, there was nothing I could do there in a single lane, I tried to look around was amazed to look at the ongoing traffic on the roads below our road and then I was wondering and could not stop appreciating the meticulous work of the civil engineers who built the multiple crossroads connecting highways. There is no point in cribbing upon the traffic jam, it is not in our hands, so tried to appreciate the scene around which can be seen only from there. 
One question always comes to me whenever I see abandoned cars on the road side. How come the owner of the car left it overnight or why the car was not towed away? I could not find one. My car crosses the downtown roads to reach my destination. I wonder looking at the roads so narrow, and see all the pedestrians of the city in downtown. It is hell to find a parking spot but I am lucky to have a parking spot. At the end of my four months project, I learnt the art of lane changing for quicker travel time. I enjoyed the long drive, the roadside beauty which I would have missed had I not got this project. 
There is nothing like adapting to commuting each day is unpredictable. Indeed, my short term project was a blessing in disguise.

“We’re spending a lot more time in our cars commuting, and we’re doing a lot more in cars, especially with new technologies. We do a lot of things and we don’t get caught. But in fact we’re just lucky and we get complacent” 
-Charlie Klauer (Research Scientist, Transportation)

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