As college students we are all, to an extent, commuters. Unless you were raised in Davis and go to college here too (bless your heart), the majority of us come from around California: Southern California, Northern California, and that wonderful little bubble of life, excitement and diversity known as the Bay Area. Depending on your original location obviously your transportation means, and how enjoyable your trip is, can vary.
Nothing can be more frustrating than a 60-mile trip that takes more than an hour. Except perhaps a 300-mile trip that takes over six. It‘s all relative anyway. At least when traffic hits on the 80, coming or going, it is hell. Once, I was stuck going home (in case you didn‘t guess, that‘s the Bay) from Sacramento during rush hour.
Plus, I had no music to listen to. Not a radio, not an iPod, not even an MP3 on my cell phone! I cringe while I reflect on what that was like. The Feds should use it as a means of torture. POWs from the next country we decide to invade will succumb straightaway once we put them through this: Stick them in a car and force them into midsummer, bumper-to-bumper I-80 traffic with no radio, CD player, iPod or tape deck. And all they have to look at is fields, grass, cows and the rest of the mob that is suffering with you. “Tell us where the oil is!“
In the mean time, some of us will take planes to and from our hometowns. There are pros and cons to this too. Just so people don‘t think I‘m so negative all the time here are some pros: Flying is a hell of a lot faster, it‘s really exciting being in the sky and people come by pushing a cart full of food and ask you if you want anything. Is it just my dirty mind or do the first two parts of that sentence make you think of the Mile High club? The last two parts could too, actually. OK, add Mile High club to the list of pros.
Cons include children, sitting in the middle seat, smelly people, layovers and plane crashes.
Children! If you have to put small animals in crates and keep them with the luggage the same should go for children. Showing you all the cool stuff they have; a pacifier, sippy cup and the gum in their mouth. What do you do in that situation? Just smile, pet him a little then go back to your book.
Once, a mom actually asks if I could hold her son for a little bit. She sends the kid my way and there I am cradling this little boy in my lap while he stares at me. The mother is ecstatic. Then the little poop starts crying! And I feel it‘s my responsibility as the apparent caregiver for this child to console him for the duration of the plane ride. So I start patting his back a little, rocking him and stuff, and the mom says to give him back. Take him!
Easily the best mode of transportation, to the Bay and back, is Amtrak. The best part is the lack of children and the fact that sleep comes easier than in the congested seating of a plane. The scenery changes quickly, so before you know it the cows are gone and the familiar and comforting maze of overpasses and highways is back. However, especially when time is short, knowing the exact time of arrival can be irritating. The train won‘t really speed up, rather it usually slows down before anything.
Something I didn‘t know before this weekend: A train is not allowed to cross a bridge with a boat going under it. Not a drawbridge or anything, a suspension bridge. Right when we‘re in a rush is when all the delays happen. Tick-tock-tick-tock the 9 a.m. westbound train with station stops of Suisun/Fairfield, Martinez, Richmond, Berkeley, Emmeryville and Oakland Jack London waits for this tiny yacht-looking boat to make its merry little way under the Bencia Bridge! Everyone on the train is mentally trying to add minutes to the original time of arrival, imagining swerving through lanes, going 90 mph, not taking shit from any yacht.
But, we know what that could actually end up like. It‘s a vicious circle this commuting stuff.
However, regardless of your mode of transportation, anyone can appreciate getting out of Davis for a weekend.
SARA KOHGADAI wants to know your commuter horror story. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.