Riding in Cars Alone

A week after I got my drivers license, I backed my family’s minivan against the garage and pulled it off the foundation. Since then, I’ve really disliked driving.

So, naturally, when I moved from Minnesota to New Hampshire, I picked an apartment and accepted a job 44 miles apart. As a result, my quick 15 minute commute turned into a solid one hour trek.

Quick update — driving from Manchester to Portsmouth (and back) every day kind of stinks. But, I love living in Manchester (Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries! Angela’s Pasta & Cheese Shop! Yum!) and love working in Portsmouth (Tugboats! Prescott Park! Ceres Bakery!)


So comrade, if you also have to commute long distances across the Granite State, here are a few ways to make your drive suck a little less.

  • Turn off that dang music radio.

    Do you know what’s better than listening to Pitbull? Not listening to Pitbull. Not for two hours a day, anyway.

  • Turn on a dang podcast.

    Do you know what’s better than listening to Pitbull? Listening to a podcast. There are so many great podcasts out there, it’s all about finding what is most interesting to you. Like comedy? You’d probably like Comedy Bang Bang. Prefer interviews infused with comedy? You may like Marc Maron. History buff? Dan’s Carlin’s Hardcore History. All about sports? The Dan Patrick Show. Love knitting in NH? then, NH Knits is for you. There’s a podcast for just about anything, even candy!

  • Test your car-dancing moves.

    It’s all about the arms, baby.

  • Think up answers to those inevitable ice-breaker questions.

    You know, questions like, ‘What does your ideal day look like?’ One with puppies! ‘What can’t you leave home without?’ Duh, my phone. Next question. ‘If you could have one superpower for a day, what would it be?’ Man, only one day? Normally I’d choose flying, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut I’m going to go with the ability to shoot bouncy balls out of my hands. Wait. Maybe the power to make my entire day a musical! Or, the ability to make anything into a trampoline. The knowledge to develop the world’s greatest ice cream? I can’t decide. This is hard.

  • Finalize your birthday/holiday/wedding gift list.

    Being alone in the car is the perfect time to think of the perfect answer to your grandma’s question, ‘What would you like for your birthday this year?’ Actually, I would love an Audible.com account, or a new set of windshield wipers. Thank you for asking! Have I told you how long my commute is?

  • Practice perfecting your go-to karaoke song.

    Disclaimer: Despite being a choir kid in high school, I have never done karaoke. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t methodically practiced singing Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ until I learned to hit every note. Ok, mostly hit every note.

  • Take alternate routes.

    Disclaimer #2: I’ve only ever done this because I’ve completely zoned out and taken the wrong exit. But, I learned there’s a place called Sea Hagg Distillery off Route 1. How cool! So, mix it up a little. You never know what obscure liquor joint you’ll pass along the way.

  • Make up elaborate backstories for the fellow commuters who pass you.

    See that man in the tan SUV who is incapable of merging into the right lane even though he’s driving 5 miles under the speed limit? His name is Chuck, and he has a lot on his mind. Once an energetic salesman, Chuck is having a lot of trouble finding meaning in his job. After he recently attended a conference in San Francisco, he can’t shake the feeling that’s where he is meant to be. As Chuck mindlessly cruises down I-95, his mind is on Baker Beach, sipping a lemonade while watching the sunset across the Pacific. Find your chill, Chuck.

So fear not my fellow car-bound commuters, it’s not all so bad. At least, until the inevitable winter arrives. But until then, we’ll take it a day at a time. Drive on.

Devil winter

One Response to “Riding in Cars Alone”

  1. Clyde E. SmithAugust 18, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Love your comments. I remember those days, even a little different. Keep writing.

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