If you hadn’t realised that the kiddie-winks had started back at school this week by the number of photographs popping up on your Facebook feed of children looking clean and smart in their new uniform, then you would have guessed it from the amount of traffic that has returned to the roads in the mornings. Yes, what was a joyful thirty-minute commute for me during the school holidays has now been made a third longer due to everyone being back at work.
According to a statistic I read in an article on the BBC recently, with my recent house move and the summer holidays over, my commute to work is now longer than the national average. In the last two months I have gone from having a fifteen-minute drive to a forty-minute one. This eats up a lot of my time as well as my patience.
It’s a shame because I love driving. I will happily drive from one end of the country to the other taking in the scenery whilst trying to guess the impending weather changes based on what the cows are doing, but the morning commute just annoys me. It’s an unavoidable, miserable chunk of my day that probably isn’t helped because I’m not that enthralled with my destination (it is work after all).
“causes misery and frustration to all behind”
My commute on a typical day involves a bit of country road driving (sometimes stuck behind a tractor), a rail crossing that’s always got its barriers down and then a glorious blast down the A1. This 70mph jolly is unfortunately cut short when we slow to a crawl on the approach to the city. I then drive through Newcastle at a steady pace until I hit the Tyne bridge. It usually takes me ten minutes to get from one side to the other, which is less than a mile long. I hate the stop-start traffic and I hate those people who try and push in. They are the worst.
I lose my temper behind the wheel from time-to-time with drivers that are oblivious to other road users. My grandad was a lorry driver and my dad used to drive ambulances for a living, so I have probably inherited a few emotions from them. I know for a fact that I learnt one colourful phrase from my grandad about people driving slowly. He’d tell them to hurry up as they were being a slow, err, let’s say road user.
But back to those drivers and why they wind me up, the pusher-ins; the people who speed past in the empty lanes and then try and change at the last second. You are the people contributing to the slow traffic you are overtaking because every time you push in, everyone behind has to slow down to make room for you and your BMW. Audi drivers are just as bad. Your attempt to save a few seconds and get one over on your fellow road users causes misery and frustration to all behind.
“I might just be better off buying an automatic”
I am a highly competitive person, but I don’t understand this human desire to have to try and beat those around you for what, at the end of the day, isn’t really going to gain you anything. We’re all going to work, what’s the rush to get there before everyone else?
Admittedly, I would like to get to work in the quickest time possible every morning, but until I figure out how to make thousands of pounds from my kitchen table, I’ll happily take a consistent 40mph drive to reach my destination. I can get along with traffic so long as it is moving at a steady pace and not stopping every couple of metres to let some bozo in. Unfortunately, unless human beings develop a hive-mind collective and we can work together, I don’t think this is going to happen anytime soon. I might just be better off buying an automatic.
On the plus side, finding the silver lining in every cloud and all that, a forty-odd minute commute does mean that I can listen to both sides of ‘Thick as a Brick’ on my way to work, and that can’t be a bad thing can it?