Issue 5 Contents


Commuter's Notebook

Another new issue of Whatever, another new job, another new commute. Washington St. Providence is just a cringe-invoking memory now. And so is RIPTA. I've graduated to the car and I point it towards the sun each morning.

There are two ways to get to Newport from Providence. The first weeks on the job I headed south on 95 to 4 and on to the bridges. Unfortunately, Rt. 4 has a couple of lights and a few thousand potholes, but its familiarity to me served as justif ication. Additionally unfortunate are the toll/token issues involved in crossing the bridge (obviously inconvenient), but I justify that because it's good for the soul to drive by water.

I should mention that my car is pretty good. It drives well, but occasional knocking sounds and the loss of the rewind/fastforward functions on the radio force me to feel untrusting.

I'm sure its not news, but there really are a lot of idiots on the road. A good quantity of them drive minivans 50mph (40 around corners) in the left lane with two hundred cars behind them. Then there's that windshield behind me, so close the rest of t he car is invisible, as I try not to hit the mini-van. By luck there's always a truck in the lane next to me when this occurrs. That is infuriating because I do get out of the way when someone wants to pass me. I respect their willingness to go the dist ance quickly and let them proceed; I'm no indignant vigilante.

I'm too cheap to pay tolls. I started going the other way. 195 West. Straight, completely, directly into the sun. It's actually faster and better. No toll. The only drawback is I have to drive back roads for what would be 25-30 minutes if I o beyed speed limits. But I cut that down considerably, so it's tolerable.

I have another obvious complaint. Why does the radio have to suck so badly? They play the same songs every morning regardless of how good or bad they may be. Hearing the same news four times gets a little old after a while too, especially when i t consistently involves Bill Parcells. I'm ashamed to say it, but most mornings I end up listening to Imus.

There's really nothing particularly heinous involved in my commute except the time, but under an hour ain't bad. I was a wimp when I first got back on the road, but my confidence and natural ability soon returned. I just wish I didn't have to sh ift. Such an unwanted hassle in traffic, I dream of buying an automatic. In that lies the crux of the improvement in my commute. I can upgrade. It can only get better.

Did I mention I head away from traffic? Will keep you posted...