Part of being out in the working world in the D.C. area is dealing with hellish commutes. Your commute is sort of like an intricate puzzle to be figured out. Which line of transportation to take (car, metro, train, bus, bike, walking), which route to take, what time to leave. Everything has to be figured out to give you your best possible commuting situation. The best possible situation is what gives you least amount of time in the car, but you also want to think about cost.
I leave on the early side of rush hour and drive in on the HOV lane. It is just me in the car, but I bought my hybrid when you could get special clean fuel plates that allowed you to use the HOV lane. That is over now, but I am grandfathered in, hallelujah. Because I arrive at the office before 9am, I get early bird parking, which is significantly less expensive. Still, I end up spending about $220/mo in parking.
Regardless of my early leave time and HOV status, the commute in is always like a video game. Dodge that car, get around the slow one, make sure to be in this lane. I'm always alert, and always looking for a way to get there faster. Once I get into the city, it is like one of those Richard Scarry Busytown books. Construction men, pedestrians, dogs, bikers, etc., all getting in my way. CAN THEY JUST MOVE ALREADY.
You have to be alert, because people will take advantage of your non-alertness any chance you give them. Cars will cut you off, and pedestrians will walk in front of you (when you have the green light). Don't get me started on the bikers. They abide by NO laws. They are a car when it pleases them, and a pedestrian when that pleases them. They do not stop at stop signs or lights or ever. They just weave all around you and have no regard for their own life. I actually hopped out of my car once and fussed at a pedestrian who started walking in front of my car when I had the right of way. I was scared, I had almost hit her. Regardless of who had the right of way, I don't think I would ever be able to get over killing someone. So I let her have it.
People have also yelled at me. I have been in fender benders. I use my horn like it is my friend. I fantasize about having signs that I could hold up for people so that they would know why I am honking. Here are a few that I would have:
1. Take the left turn! There is no one coming!
2. Get over to the right lane if you are going to drive so slow!
3. Do you even know where you are or where you are going?
4. Sorry! I didn't mean to honk at you! (Hey, sometimes I make mistakes)
5. We are in the circle! We have the right of way! Stop yielding to the incoming traffic! I don't care that it is a bus!
6. GOOOOOO. THE LIGHT IS GREEEN.
7. I could give TWO SH*TS that you are a pedestrian! You have the hand! I am honking at you for your own SAFETY (but mostly because I am annoyed).
8. Stop driving so SLOWLY in front of me and letting people get in front of you!
One reason why I chose to have a daycare close to my home versus close to my office, is that I couldn't imagine doing the commute into the city with Ben in the car. (Other reasons, by the way, were cost and to be closer to my parents in case of a pinch).
For the record, I am a completely different driver when I am not going to or from work. Something about commuting changes me into Cruella Deville. Also, a hard rain is my kryptonite. You know those drivers who don't know how to drive in the rain? They go realllly slow. Ugh, they are so annoying. I am one of them. I hate myself on those days.
Driving in the summer is much better, because there are less people out on the road. Since I have come back from my maternity leave, it has been summer. The kids go back to school on Tuesday. This probably will affect my delicate schedule, and I'm not looking forward to it!