Today was my 2nd trip to and from Rochester for work. It takes an hour to get to the office and 4 days to get home, I think. Or, at least that's how it feels. But I will go ahead and consider myself an expert in commuting to work and have decided to give you all some helpful tips.
1) Make sure you start your journey at the butt crack of dawn. I choose somewhere around 6:15 or so in order to make sure I can see the sunrise on the way to work. Makes for a lovely trip and is a brutal reminder that you have showered, made coffee, put on matching shoes (hopefully) and driven halfway to work before the sun even comes up.
2) Try to break up the trip by giving yourself mini-rewards at regular intervals. Like, 15 minutes in? I start drinking my coffee. And 30 minutes in, I get to turn off my I Heart Radio app and tune in to real radio stations again. At the 45-minute mark, I roll down my window and spit sunflower seeds out of it. By the time I'm making the final turn into the office, I feel like I've really accomplished some things.
3) It is important to be prepared for a long commute. I bring: A water bottle, coffee, snacks, sunflower seeds, and a Go-Girl in case of emergencies. (I kid!) But most importantly is the mental preparation. It's going to be a long time before you actually get anywhere, so don't be a jackwad and try and stay connected with your phone. Put that guy away and refrain from texting, Facebooking and generally being an idiot. If you absolutely must speak to someone, bring along a friend or get over it and just be quiet for awhile.
4) Podcasts can be a real treat. They can be very interesting and funny and an excellent way to pass the time, if you choose the right ones. I recommend the Nerdist, Comedy Bang Bang, How Did This Get Made, This American Life and Ted Talks to get you started.
5) Okay, cruise control can be your best friend or it can be the devil. In the afternoon, it's lovely. But in the morning, setting your car to cruise and zoning out can be a super bad idea. Keep yourself alert by constantly changing speeds. Try slamming on your brakes before accelerating up to 90 every once in awhile. Keep it interesting.
6) Temperature is tough. Right now, it's freezing cold in the morning and warm and sunny in the afternoon. In the morning, a warm car is as risky as driving after slugging back some NyQuil. Keep it chilly. Plus, the teeth-chattering will give you something to do. In the afternoon, you can roll down your windows and chillax. This will, however, make it very noisy in the car so turn up your talking podcast super loud. Other motorists will be jealous of your diverse interests.
7) It is unavoidable: Every person on the road will be annoying and terrible at life. They will cruise at 2 mph under you and hang out in the left lane right next to a semi. Fight the urge to GTA your way through the situation. Instead, drive pretty close to them and extend your middle finger up in the air very aggressively while yelling helpful suggestions out the window such as "GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE, @(*$)(%*#*%$*@&!!!!" Expert tip: Turn your podcast down before doing this so they can hear you loud and clear.
8) Go ahead and play the alphabet game by yourself on the drive. Because guess what! No one is around to call you out for cheating by counting the K in "Kwik Trip" as a Q because it's not your fault they spelled it wrong. Bonus? You win every time.
9) Speed can be a conundrum. On the one hand, you want to get to your destination and OUT of that godforsaken car so bad that you may be tempted to go way too fast. On the other hand, you may be so afraid of getting a ticket that you play it like a nerd and drive the speed limit. My tip? For every 5 cars you pass, let one pass you. I don't know how or if that works, but it sounds about right. Almost scientific. Right?
10) Finally, when you eventually get home at the end of the day after sitting in a car and sitting at a desk and then sitting in a car again, find yourself inexplicably exhausted and lay down for a nap. Then wake up and play a driving video game because you are insane.
There you go! I figure if you follow these 10 tips, your commute will fly by!