Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Why my 5 mile commute takes more than a half hour

According to Google, which is currently a more reliable authority on everything in the whole world than any religion or government that has ever existed, I live exactly five miles, and in almost a straight line, north and south, from where I work.
This commute, whether to or from work, never takes less than a half hour and sometimes takes as long as 45 minutes. How utterly absurd is that? Answer: pretty absurd. A better question is, how is that possible? Well, here are factors that add up to a reason. Also pretty absurd.

THE WAWA - All right, this one is on me kind of. There is a Wawa exactly 0.4 miles from my house (again, thanks Google) and while I don't stop there every day, I go there often. I recognize that since it's not on my way, it automatically increases the distance and time of my commute. What complicates things is actually the other people who stop at the Wawa. Specifically, the people who get in front of me in line who inevitably purchase:

  • Gas or groceries with coins
  • Tobacco products - Is it really necessary for every convenience store to have a wall only slightly smaller than the Green Monster at Fenway Park full of different types and packaging of cigarettes, all of which require the customer and store clerk to play a game of Marco! Polo! to find someone's preferred cancer delivery system?
  • Lotto - Slightly less arduous than finding ultra slim menthol light 100's in a box is the task of scanning stacks of scratched-off losers before deciding to blow some of this week's cigarette budget on games called "Quick Bucks", "Happy-Go-Lucky" or "Big Money". It would speed things up immensely and be more accurate if they just had one scratch-off game titled "Fuck It".
What you could win from the lotto or what some people spend on it.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS - On my daily 10 mile round trip, I go through 44 intersections with traffic lights. That's 4.4 per mile, or one for less than every quarter mile. Granted, you hit more green lights than red but that's a lot of potential stops. And while most of them are concentrated downtown where traffic is heavy (and where it's possible to hit three or four red lights in a row) lots of them are in residential areas where you frequently have the pleasure of sitting at a red light like an idiot while zero cars cross in front of you.
I pay taxes for this!

THE BUS - I consider myself a supporter of public transportation because when I needed it, it was there for me and served me well. But the fact of the matter is, with the way our roads are laid out and the amount of traffic on them, if you ever find yourself boxed in behind the bus, you might as well go ahead and cancel your early appointments. Because you're going to stop every couple of hundred feet, sometimes for several minutes and nobody is ever going to let you pull out from behind it.

I guess this is my panorama for the foreseeable future.

ASSHOLES DRIVING THE WRONG WAY - Tampa leads the league in people driving the wrong way down one-way streets. Possibly because downtown Tampa has lots of one-way streets that sometimes change direction for no discernible reason. Also possibly because downtown Tampa has at least six of those streets under construction at any one time. Plus, many people who drive downtown are assholes. Whatever the reason is, I see at least one of these dummies a week. Sunday, I saw two of them within three blocks, one of whom was taking a leisurely drive down the streetcar tracks.
Here's a picture I took of a truck driving south on northbound one-way Florida Avenue. Good thing the driver had his headlights on, so everybody could see what a dumb ass he is.

ASSHOLES ON BICYCLES - Why yes, there is a bike lane over there to the right, a lane placed there to be used exclusively by people who want to operate a bicycle safely on the street. But by all means, you go ahead and pedal at 15 MPH or less in the left lane of a three-lane thoroughfare at 8:30 in the morning while people in cars are trying to get to work. Because #ShareTheRoad, I guess. Right, you self-entitled Seminole Heights khaki shorts-wearing douche?
THIS piece of...
Add all these up and it's remarkable that it doesn't take even longer than it does.

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