My commute really sucks. It’s a 70-mile round trip to and from the day job, five days a week, every week. And thanks to never-ending road construction, stupid drivers, traffic jams, and glorious Midwestern winter weather, I average two to three hours per day on this not-particularly-scenic drive.
My husband once remarked to me, in an effort to be helpful, that at least I have “the solitude of the drive.” He pointed out that I had time to myself, time to meditate, to contemplate, to crank up the radio and rock out to the hair bands of the 80’s (he knows me so well).
Poor guy. He meant well, but his comments were not, shall we say, well-received at the time. I tend to get a little testy after sitting in traffic for a few hours – even with Poison to help pass the time.
The other morning though, I was driving along and contemplating some life issues that I’m currently struggling with – my writing, a minor financial crisis, other bits and pieces. When the thinking got too sticky, I moved as if by reflex, reaching to switch off my brain and switch on my latest audiobook (another one of the sanity savers of my commute). But then I stopped myself and thought, “Wait a minute. You’ve got an hour of quiet time. Use it for Pete’s sake. Think. Plan. Get something done!”
So I pulled out my trusty digital tape recorder (a must-have for my overworked 45-year-old brain to keep everything straight). I roughed out a plan for some financial stuff I need to do, drafted a query letter for the children’s book I’m working on getting published, even outlined this blog. It was one of those magical times we creative types are blessed with every now and then – caught up in the flow, ideas coming so fast that you can hardly write them down or spit them out fast enough.
Perhaps there is a silver lining to be found, even in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It’s all in how you look at it – cursed commute or sweet solitude.