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Sucking Down Carbon Monoxide or Public Transportation: A Choice I’m Not Allowed to Make May 17, 2023

public transportation

For the life of me, I will never understand why people prefer to be sitting in traffic, sucking down carbon monoxide from the tailpipe of the car in front of them, to public transportation.

Recently, I had to drive from my home in suburban Atlanta to Philadelphia to pick up my daughter from school.  It is 760 miles, door to door.  For reference, my father lives 600 miles away from me in Florida and, including pit stops, we can usually get there in about 10 hours.  So you’d think that it would take 12 1/2 hours to get from my house to my daughter’s dorm in Philly. 

But you’d be wrong.  Rather than drive 70 mph[1], from mid-Virginia all the way to the City of Brotherly Horn-Honking[2], we existed in a 200-mile-long traffic jam, with occasional bursts of freedom, just to tease us. 

We were driving because my daughter has an abundant amount of crud such that we needed our large minivan to contain most of it.[3]  But as I looked around me, with most of the cars having license plates from the state we were currently crawling through, and having only one passenger within, I had to wonder.  Isn’t there a train or a bus or a hovercraft available? 

I grew up in a place where public transportation was readily available and easy to use.  By the time I was thirteen or so, I could go wherever I wanted without having to bother my parents about giving me a ride.  In high school, I’d ride the train to my flute teacher’s apartment, and I’d have about an hour each way to do homework.  If I’d driven, all that time would have been lost.

In a lot of places, like where I live now, public transportation simply isn’t an option.  Heck – I live so far out in the woods[4] that you can’t even reliably get an Uber or Lyft or a traditional taxi.  There are arguments against public transportation, but efficiency and safety isn’t one of them.  According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 42,795 people died on American roads last year.  94% of all people who died-while-transporting in the past decade, died in cars.[5]  Speed-related crashes alone cost Americans $40.4 billion-with-a-b each year.[6]  Think about all the trains and college scholarships and filled potholes and life-saving drugs that many billions could buy.  Let’s not even get into the cost of jails and public assistance for people who can’t work because they don’t live within reasonable walking distance of somewhere to work.

But aside from all that[7], driving is just a waste of time.  When you’re driving, you’re just driving.  That’s it.  You aren’t making friends or talking to friends[8], observing the human condition, reading the paper, or taking a well-needed nap.  Not a single hour goes by that I wouldn’t rather be napping.  There are a hundred jobs I’ve considered taking over the years, but they would require me to drive to Atlanta every day, and I’d rather pop my eyes out with a dirty spoon.  But if there were a train, I could read, I could crochet, I could crush boatloads of candy….

Oh well, if wishes were trains, beggars would ride.  And I’m begging. 

[1] Naturally, we would not go above the speed limit at all, so 70 maxes it out for us on the highway.  😊

[2] Philadelphia is known as the “City of Brotherly Love”, but judging from the way that drivers treat each other, that love is primarily expressed by their car horns and/or swerving around other cars by going up on the sidewalk and mowing down a few pedestrians to do so.

[3] The stuff it wouldn’t contain is spread out over a series of local folks my daughter managed to charm into holding her detritus for a couple of months until she gets back. 

[4] Not geographically – I live less than 30 miles from two cities, Atlanta and Athens (the home of UGA).  I mean in the woods like isolated and without the things one normally sees in cities, like buses and trains.  Or even sidewalks, for that matter. 

[5] The Roadway Safety Problem | US Department of Transportation

[6] According to the Insurance Information Institute in 2019.  See https://driving-tests.org/driving-statistics 

[7] I did research for this post, people.  RESEARCH.  I never do that. It’s easier to make stuff up.

[8] You really can make friends on public transportation – some of my dad’s best friends were the guys he took the train with and played hearts with on the commute home.

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook or read her award winning books.  Her newest book, a Foreword INDIES Gold Medal award winner, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.

Sucking Down Carbon Monoxide or Public Transportation: A Choice I’m Not Allowed to Make

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Sucking Down Carbon Monoxide or Public Transportation: A Choice I’m Not Allowed to Make

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Lori Duff

Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side.  Her latest book, "If You Did What I Asked in the First Place" was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.

Sucking Down Carbon Monoxide or Public Transportation: A Choice I’m Not Allowed to Make May 17, 2023