Wednesday, October 13, 2010

...more like commuter's vent

I've been commuting to work for about 2ish months now, about 1 to 1.5 hours each way...AAAAANNNND I end up having a lot of time to think while I'm on the road. Two hours is a long time to fill, y'know. I'm not cultured enough to listen to audiobooks, and taking naps didn't work out so well, so I'm reduced to pondering about deep, philosophical "What am I going to have for dinner...? Did I turn off my computer...? Does maple syrup expire if it's never been opened...?*" I also think about traffic, since once in a while I have to pay attention to what's going on around me.

I usually find my commute to be ever so lovely and refreshing, and there are a few patterns/things I've picked up. I generously share them here, in order that you, too, may have an enriched commuting experience. I PRESENT:

(to one very small section of California)
by Carrie Liao
21 year California veteran

You wouldn't take jogging tips from a crocodile, so in the interest of full disclosure:

take that for what you will.

So, as everyone knows, you generally have 3 - 4 lanes + carpool (if you only have one lane open...well...good luck). I never take the carpool lane (because I'm alone...). Now, in really heavy traffic lane 2 might be a good option, since people are always moving out or in to it--at least it'll be moving. Stay out of lane 1 because of incoming cars--pretty much no one does the zipper merge so you'll be stuck. I usually stick to lanes 3 and 4 (I know that in reality they --i think?--count the lanes from inside out, but whatever. I gave you a chart--follow, friends!).

When traffic gets nasty (which is every day) and you can no longer weave in and out, it'll move in blocks like so :

(H for head, B for back!...of the line). Once you are in one of these lanes I've discovered it's a good idea to choose one (like a favorite child, if you will) and stick to it. It might seem slower at times but when people start switching back and forth between lanes--which they will, in a desperate attempt to be in the fastest--you will make up the time. To determine the flow of your lane, pick a Marker Car in the other lane. Throughout your commute, your position relative to this car will help you gauge the traffic flow.

This chart describes the usual movement within these blocks:

If everyone were a MIRACLE DRIVER then the start-stop effect of these blocks would be reduced, thereby maintaining flow of traffic (as well as my sanity). Unfortunately absolutely no one in California is actually good at driving.

There are three notorious types to look out for:
-Lane squatters (exception: old people)

These people think that life is their highway, and they're going to ride it at 35 miles an hour. No amount of honking will convince them otherwise. An all-lane offender.

When they're old people, though, you just can't stay mad at them. Well, I can't, at least. Look at them! They're so cute. I do think the freeway is a bit too dangerous for them. I think they'd be much better off if they stayed home and fed their ten cats.


It's a really flexible definition...but usually that one that cuts you off while using the electric shaver and texting with his toes. You understand, though...don't've been that douchebag at least once in your life. So have I.

We've all been douchebags.


The cousin of the Lane Squatter, and the MOST VILE. These people feel like they need to maintain a gap of 5 cars no matter how clear the road is at the moment. THAT'S NOT WHAT THEY PUT ON THE TEST, DID YOU TAKE IT? Really, I'm all for safety/maintaining a distance, but if you're moving at 15-20 mph and you can't stop within a smaller gap, then you're a little simple.

Honorable Mention:


Last tips:

1) Have A/C and snacks, especially if you have passengers. Or they will look like this:

oh, water's good, too.

2) Just give up, you're never gonna win. Welcome to California
disclaimer: these observations are generally contained to my experience with the 210, 134, and 57. if you hit the 101 and 110 all bets are off.

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