Limiting stress and (kind of) liking it

It snowed last night. Again.

It wasn’t a shut-down-the-town dumping of snow. I would have actually preferred that. It was another annoying two inches of greasy white stuff. That is my absolute least favorite kind of snowfall. It turns my knuckles white.

When we get more than, say, three inches of snow, the roads turn into gridlock. Everybody goes slow. When we get only a little bit of snow, there are drivers of all kinds on the road. There are too slow drivers and there are cautious drivers. There are tough guys who go too fast and the crazy guys who go way too fast.

I’ve never loved driving in the winter and after being rear-ended in the Lowry Tunnel a little more than a year ago, I have a bit more unease when the conditions aren’t great. I’m quite confident with my ability, but I don’t want to have some knucklehead sliding into me.

Part of the beauty of my new job is that three days a week, I work at an office that is right next to a light rail stop. And when I say right next to, I mean right next to.

So when it is bad out, I’ve become a transit guy. I drive to the park and ride and hop on a bus downtown. From there, I walk a block or two (depending on the bus) and get on the Hiawatha light rail line.

I’ve never been a regular transit rider. But I’ve grown to like it far more than I would have ever thought. I get out of a warm car and onto a warm bus. Sometimes there’s a little wait to get on the train, but when it finally arrives, it’s usually warm. Because I’m going against the traditional commute, I can usually get a seat without an issue.

And it is unbelievably stress free. Instead of fighting traffic on 100 and 494, I don’t pay any attention to what is going on. I read my Nook Color (which will be a blog topic, I swear) and I read. I’m currently getting both the Star Tribune and the New York Time on there and I can read like crazy.

By the time I step off of the train, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the world and I have a great foundation for the day. I also don’t have any stress. I’m totally relaxed and ready to dominate the morning.

It certainly comes with a little bit of a price — and I’m not talking about the fare. From the park and ride to my office is a process that takes about an hour. On an average morning with decent roads, it probably takes me 30-35 minutes to get to the office. On the way home, I’m much more dependent on the bus schedule from downtown back to the park and ride and there isn’t as much flexibility.

Is it a fair trade off? It certainly is when the weather is bad. Bad roads can make my commute take nearly as long as the bus/train combo. In addition, I do like the time I get to spend with the newspaper.

I’m not sure that I could be an every day transit rider. I would like to say that once a week could be a goal, but that might be difficult to keep up when the weather is good and there’s post-work golf to be played. Can I do it 25-30 times in 2011? That certain seems like an option.


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