07.26.10 I Hate Driving to Work

With the recent increase in Metro fares, it costs nearly as much for me for take public transportation to work ($8/day) as it does to park downtown ($10).  Talk about screwy incentives in this gas-guzzing land of ours!  So, like any rational economic actor, I’m now somewhat more likely to drive downtown than I was a few weeks ago.  And, indeed, I have done so a couple of times already.

I notice that most of the senior folks in my organization drive every day.  I guess they simply find it super convenient, regardless of the relative cost of driving vs. using public transportation.  And this reminds me of some of my best, oldest friends, who wouldn’t be caught dead using public transportation, even if it were free.

My view is the polar opposite.  Except in extreme whether — or those occasions when Metro is broken or the bus doesn’t show up — I relish my public-transportation commute.  Letting someone else drive, frees me up to read.  How else would I give the Washington Post and New York Times a thorough skim, read a New Yorker article a week, make it through the Atlantic Monthly, flip through MacWorld and PC Magazine, and even read a book or two?

In fact, though there are neighbors and friends I love to run into on the bus or Metro, I don’t even want that to happen too often or I’ll fall behind on my reading!

For me, sitting behind the wheel is a complete waste of time.  When I worked in non-public-accessible locations in years past, I would make the best of it by listening to NPR.  But I’m so sick of business as usual in the American body politic and economic and military, that I can’t stand listening to the news, even from such a good source.  (I really don’t get those who listen to commercial news stations while they drive with “traffic on the eights,” headlines repeated over and over, and the commercials droning on and on.)

So count me a public-transpo guy.  This isn’t even my sacrifice for greening the planet.  It’s where I’d rather be.

©2010 Keith Berner

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