Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Traffic

My brother is off to Israel for three weeks. We got Wabby the dog, again, for three weeks. So far this sounds like a familiar story, only that this time we also got my brother's parking space in the city for three weeks.
And so we just had to try it. Last Thursday we did: we drove to the city via Kings Way, and it took us exactly an hour from the time we left home. Which is exactly the time it takes us on the train, although you could argue the car suffered a bit because of us driving next to Albert Park on Formula 1 weekend.
This Monday we went at it again, this time via Punt Road. Alas, this time it took us an hour and ten minutes: road work on Hoddle Street meant four lanes turned into one.
The drive back home wasn't much of a honey moon as well. Yes, it was quicker, but no, it wasn't significantly quicker.
But time saved or lost does not tell the entire story. The train beats the car because:
1. Travel time's standard deviation is significantly shorter. Yes, you often get fucked when they cancel a train, but it's a 10 minutes' story. Mess on the roads can cost you much more when you're driving.
2. The drive is not a nice drive; it's stop and go. It's annoying, it just taxes you. And it taxes the car, too, and I don't like my brand new Canyonero being taxed.
3. It's the type of drive where the chance of someone bumping into you or vice versa is quite significant. It's no longer so remote you don't even think of it; you see cars smashing into one another all the time. There's a reason for it: Australians simply do not keep their safe distance, and stupid bumper to bumper shit happens all the time (spoken by someone who recently bumped into someone's behind too, albeit it a bit of a different circumstances). I think there's just not enough awareness in here to the fact the easiest way of preventing accidents is to keep a safe distance.
4. The parking itself, although guaranteed (can also be purchased for $10-$12 when I don't have the pass, which is not that bad given that both Jo and I use it), is shit. You need a ruler to fit the car in, and with such narrow parking spaces you're bound to get nasty scratches on your beloved Canyonero. Worse, with people blocking one another in rows upon rows of parked cars, chances of someone bumping into you are, again, on the higher side of things for my taste. It's not just that the Canyonero is new, it's mostly to do with me wanting to avoid the easily avoidable hassle of messing around between insurers and mechanics, two of my less beloved people.
Mind you, a car does have its advantages beside the fact that my car is my fortress. Namely, it's to do with music: By now I virtually stopped listening to music on the train. It's just too noisy an environment; I have to compensate with the volume, and I just don't like to headphone listen at high volumes and I don't like the effect on my hearing even more. I read from time to time, but I mostly enjoy staring at people. That said, I am now at a unique situation where I acquire music (via downloads) much quicker than I can listen to it. Which is a shame.
Another funny aspect of taking the car to work is that having Jo with me in the car on a long drive feels like we're going on a holiday... But in order to be able to maintain that feeling and in order toremain sane, it's going to be the train for us for now.

Alas, the bottom line of this analysis work is that I'm still struggling with sticking to my regular daily routine while having two hours less to perform this daily routine in. Sleeping suffers, I'm constantly tired, I just can't be bothered with things... Work is interesting, and I hope eventually I'll adapt.

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