Killer commute?

I’m not normal! Not exactly news, I guess, but here is another example. Perhaps.

OK, this is baffling to me, but evidently ordinary humans can recognize themselves in it:

Your Commute Is Killing You: Long commutes cause obesity, neck pain, loneliness, divorce, stress, and insomnia.”

Now admittedly this is from Slate, which I rank slightly below the Watchtower in unbiased science. It is one of those places dissatisfied leftists congregate to reinforce their discontent. (Actually, there are no happy, content leftists. That would be a contradiction in terms: Happy people naturally want to conserve their current happy life and all it entails, which would automatically make them conservative, literally so.) So unless you feel good watching leftists whine and despair, it may be wiser to go closer to the source. Luckily they are meticulous in linking back.

Long commutes ‘bad for marriage’: Swedish study (

Now, arguably Sweden is also a place stuffed with leftists, at least by conservative American measure. But the Swedes are leftist mostly out of habit. The social democrats, when they rule at all, are the ones trying to stick to the past. Sweden is a country of “after the revolution”, although a quiet and bloodless revolution, where the former revolutionaries are now the ones defending status quo. Anyway, you may notice that taking one step closer to the source, the claim of utter and pervasive evil is toned a bit down.

The Swedish  article also have the hilarious comments, as can be expected. “I actually prefer long commutes. It gives me more time to spend with my girlfriend and less time around that seething bitch that I married.” “This is why I quit my job and went on welfare 20 years ago. My marriage is too important to me to jeopardize it.” (These are almost certainly facetious, as they play on popular stereotypes in Scandinavian humor. Your humor may vary.)

In all fairness, the Slate article also draws on other studies, among them one of 900 Texan women who liked sex best (what? NOT going to church?) and commute least.

The most surprising was the finding that time spent on commute is actually worse than time spent at work when it comes to reducing motivation for exercise and healthy eating. I had expected them to be equal at most. After all, for the majority who don’t have manual labor, we still come home from work with the feeling that we have worked all day and want to rest. It takes an effort of will (or fear, I suppose) to come home from work and change into your sweater.

(By the way, after the commute home from work today, I spent 10 minutes on the exercise bike and took a 45 minute fast walk. See previous entry for why.)

Now, if you were to see me on the street, you would probably mistake me for an ordinary human. I don’t radiate light in the visible spectrum, honest, nor do I have wings.  But once again I have to pick the opposite side from your average human: I love my commute and wish I had more of it. Well, except when I have diarrhea.

Part of it is that I use bus instead of car, I suppose. This means I can concentrate on the things I don’t always take the time to do at work or at home: Checking Facebook and Twitter, and especially reading Kindle books on my high-resolution cell phone. In fact, I have been known to lug along paper books in some cases, but I currently have a backlog of unread Kindle books, so that goes here. On the commute home from work I also habitually nap – so habitually in fact that I have set an alarm to avoid driving past my stop! (That was mostly a problem when this commute was new to me though. These days I usually wake up when we leave the Europe road, basically Interstate. The road standard is rather different.)

As I said back when I was preparing my (so far) last move, I seriously considered a two hour commute. The reason was that you could rent a house of high standard up in the valleys at a very affordable price. It was even theoretically possible for a one-person household to buy a house up there, which it hardly is here. And the two hour commute I counted as a benefit, not a problem. (This is even more the case today, when I finally have the go-ahead to work from home the days my digestion is haunting me. But even before, it was like 1 day a month most of the time.)

Four hours a day for reading and napping? That sounds great. Of course, that would mean that much less time writing my journal and playing City of Heroes, but I think that is a good trade. I already find myself playing less computer games than I did.

Now, I have from numerous sources that City of Heroes is better than sex, but I am not sure how it stacks up against spending time with your kids. My impression is that most adults are rather less enthusiastic about this than are the kids, but that does not mean God or Evolution won’t punish them if they fail to do it, I suppose. We are after all descendants from those whose kids were not eaten by predators and did not fall into rivers, so there may be some implicit genetic contract here.

But for the few actual singles in the world who are not monks, commute seems a lot less threatening than it does to the Slate crowd. Or perhaps it is just me. I doubt I am quite that unique, though.


2 thoughts on “Killer commute?

  1. Since (almost) everything is made in China, and a lot of that in sweatshops…

    When we purchase stuff, are we sinning since we are indirectly contributing to the sweatshops?

    • Generally, quite the opposite. While there is a certain level of economic crime in China, the vast majority of workers who live in extreme poverty have come there from an even more extreme poverty in the countryside. While some Chinese goods are produced by political prisoners at gunpoint, these are so few that we cannot reasonably base our purchasing decisions on them.

      Of course, if you learn from reliable sources that this particular brand is made with slave labor, then you should avoid it. But most workers in China are better off than our own ancestors were around the time America was founded.

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