Friday, September 23, 2016

short commutes

I've held short commute times in high priority for most of my professional life. When I joined the military in my mid-20s, my first duty station was in Germany. Being single and among the lower-enlisted ranks, I was assigned to the barracks which at that particular station was a three minute walk from the office. You could say I was spoiled by this experience as I ever after had a very strong aversion to long commutes.

I later moved to Texas for my second duty assignment, where I got married and was able to move off post. A much longer commute by comparison, but while many of my peers paid twice as much for a gated community 40 minutes from work in a supposedly better neighborhood (and some of the officers would commute from much farther), DH and I chose an inexpensive apartment 15 minutes from the work. The complex was not gated, and while the entire area has never had a shining reputation (gated community neighborhoods included) and we had some typical headaches with apartment management, we never had any first-hand problems with crime, even strolling the neighborhood after dark several times with no issues.

Deployment to Iraq was similar to my life in Germany in terms of commuting, as it was a short walk to work and back from your assigned room which also contributed to my spoiled rotten-ness on commuting.

After I got out of the military and landed a nice new job with a nice new salary, I foolishly decided to buy a house (albeit a small townhouse). Happily this little townhouse turned out to be just 2.5 miles from the parking deck at the office (where we both now carpool to work). Yes I could bike there and choose not to. But even after six years of several impressive pay jumps to the household income, we both at least maintain no interest in moving farther out into the more distant suburbs, choosing not to sacrifice large chunks of sanity to spend extra hours dodging thousands of other stressed and angry drivers for the sake of a 5k-sq-ft single-family McMansion in a supposedly better neighborhood an extra 20-60 miles from work.

Call me a commute-snob, but that's yet another source of typical modern life stress that I don't have to devote depressing amounts of time, energy, money, health, and sanity toward dealing with. Leaving me more precious time and energy for lazy-tastic Rest & Relaxation pursuits.

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