Friday, October 31, 2008

Thoughts on an 84-mile each way commute

A long commute isn't so bad. There is so much time to think. In the good old Midwest the roads are so straight you don't have to think about turning your steering wheel, so your mind can wander. I have an almost daily chance to update my strategic plan in relation to the events of the week. So far, I have planned out my 3-month goal for my first manuscript here, my 9-month goal for the next one, thought through the potential projects for all of my current rotation students and how they would interact/distinguish from each other, practiced my lectures a few times through, and created and forgotten several brilliant ideas for our research directions. I remember most of them though.

Having lived in the city for so long, it is incredibly pleasant to be in the country. I get to watch the sunrise over the fields every day, and I feel the passage of the time through the gradual color changes in the trees along the multiple river banks I drive through. I have made friends with the various animals at the little farms I pass each morning: Hello baby horse! Hello piggies that sleep in a pile in a shed! Hello llamas that hang out by the rock! Hello paddock of goats climbing and coating every available surface! They make me a little bit happy every day. And overall, I am just so incredibly happy to be where I am right now, I can sacrifice that three hours a day that I lose to the car and try to take advantage of it as a recalibration time.

It is beautiful here, I am a country girl at heart I guess. I like the quiet and the nature, and today, all is right with the world. Ask me again next grant deadline and I might have a different answer for you, however.

6 comments:

EthidiumBromide said...

84 miles each way?! How do you do it?!? Everyday, I am so so thankful to live just a 20 minute walk from the lab. And there are so many days where those 20 minutes to make it back into my bed at the end of a 36 hour day in the lab just seem totally unbearable and I am so tempted to hop into a cab...

Arlenna said...

I just do it. It's either this or not live with my lovely husband (who makes my coffee every morning and takes care of me most days). I choose this.

Nat Blair said...

Whoa, that's some serious driving. And I thought my 19 mile each way Boston suburbs traffic was annoying!

Though I do like the drive at times, as it is relaxing and usually a great time to think. It would be better if there weren't so many jerky drivers out there.

Massimo aka Okham said...

OK, that would be too much for me. I used to commute as an undergraduate every day (one hour each way) but that was by train, and quite comfortable. But driving 84 miles each day back and forth would not work for me...

my lovely husband (who makes my coffee every morning...)

Excuse me, but... don't all husbands do that ?

Arlenna said...

Hah, well, probably most of them are also making the coffee for themselves. My husband is totally repulsed by coffee, it makes him sick to smell it, but he still always gets it going in the morning while I'm still drying my hair and such. I never even asked him to do so, he's just a good guy like that. :)

expat postdoc said...

I made the opposite transition to you.

I spent 5+ years in the midwest with a significant commute (during PhD). I recently moved to Europe for a postdoc and gladly pay the premium to live in the city center ($2k/month for 400 sq ft) with a 10 minute commute by a single subway line.