Seizing a day, living a dream, all sound nice and well, but the reality is that so much time we have to spend doing things that are not really our favourites. Exchanging our freedom for food and shelter, and sun holidays once a year. Chances are that if we are well adjusted tax payers we must spend considerable amount of time commuting.
I applied for a transfer, but meanwhile I decided to make the most out of my day and that includes enjoying almost two hours in the car.
Since speeding is being penalised and I do not need another high speed chase recorded on my licence, I’m forced to use other methods to entertain myself during my drive to and from work.
Singing is known to reduce stress and brings at least a little outlet for my underutilised artistic side. I would love to be able to sing, but I have enough of hearing to know that I actually can’t. Humming in the shower is good, but only in a car I can let my voice fill the space. I drive old cars which usually have holes in exhaust pipes, effectively silencing my out of tune efforts.
Believe it or not, I have a cassette player and listen to some of my old tapes. When I’m in a good mood there is some poetry with an easy melodic line and a lot of lalalas. On some mornings however there is some hardcore music with not very optimistic lyrics (for example about a soul howling like a kicked dog). It makes me come to work feeling like a badass that I am, even if my throat is a little sore.
I was thinking about dictating my stories to a phone, but the biggest problem would be listening it back. I’m like the most people and can’t stand the sound of myself outside my head. The voice-to-text software is not yet advanced enough to follow my strange accent and occasional switching between languages.
My little adaptor lets me connect my phone and turn on some lectures or podcasts. It is important however to stay awake. However strange it may sound, you actually cannot take a nap while driving, not even for a minute. Therefore there is a careful selection process, no audio-books with too many descriptions or technical details. What works the best for me are the radio plays, or books read by many actors with sound effects.
Last summer I listened to a fantasy series and whenever I was stuck in traffic with my window open, the author decided to have a little erotic scene. There was nothing really sinister about it, just a little description of a wizard shifting a witch, but the actress took her job very seriously. I had to turn it off because people were looking at me suspecting I really do enjoy driving.
Form of therapy
I think my car-time is not all wasted. I use it also for phone calls (hands free of course), so I stay connected to my friends and family.
It is a very good place for crying – private enough, you need to keep your focus on the road, so you get to let the emotions out, but you can’t allow them to absorb you too much. By the time I was home, I was able to put my horrible day behind and enjoy my chocolate on a sofa.
I also really enjoy sightseeing. If you are stuck in traffic you can at least try to relax and admire the view. Of course it is easy for me to say as I live in a very touristy place, but everywhere there is some beauty waiting to be discovered.
Ideas for the future
I’m waiting until they make cars that allow the driver to do a bit of knitting and sexting. I can never find enough time for either.
It would be great to have commute counted as working time. After all it is a part of professional life, setting a mood for the entire day.
Here and now
There is something meditative in the way that you have to keep your mind focused, you repeat the movements automatically, you feel that connection to a big piece machinery vibrating and roaring under you. Making the most out of my driving time is the first step into enjoying my whole life, whether I’m behind a wheel or desk, or on a sofa.