Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Commuting, Construction, and Choose your own Adventure

Let me tell you a little story about my daily commute to work, as I find myself facing a conundrum on a regular basis. 

I am fortunate enough to live just 2 miles from where I work.  More than that, I live exactly 2 miles down the same street from where I work.  Because of this prime proximity it seems commuting should rarely take more than 20 minutes.  It seems. I am unfortunate enough to live directly north of the massive reconstructive overhaul they are doing on Broadway, a job that is 10 months from completion.

Here are my daily commute options written as a choose your own adventure, naturally:

You wake up in the morning and go through your tried and true routine.  Gym, shower, coffee, out the door by 7:40.  You walk out the door, and pause for a second in front of your house and try to choose your mode of transportation this morning?  You can walk, bus, or drive. What do you choose?

If You chose to walk: A good choice, since mornings are often mild and this allows you time enough to wake up before you begin a long day of work.  You walk one block from your house and have to dodge a couple of tractors that are working on the new sidewalk, which you notice will eventually be constructed in your front yard.  Nice!

Next, you see that there are tractors up a couple of blocks on this side of the road, and you really hate trying to judge their helter-skelter driving routes while dodging traffic.  Do you continue on and try to play chicken with the bobcats or do you cross to the other side?

You decide to cross the other side of the street and lo-and-behold.  More construction.  Glorious tractors, orange cones, and loitering men abound.  Now you have to frogger your way either through the construction, or cross to the other side of the street, where you can frogger your way through the construction.  (On a related note, do you have to go to Junior High to be a city planner? Or is that kind of a walk-on type position?)

You decide to frogger your way through the construction and you fall into an un-covered manhole.  The End.

If You chose to take the bus: Good choice! Lucky for you, you are right on the Skip route, the simplest and most frequently running bus in town.  Since you left the house at 7:40 and managed to run through traffic on Broadway to get to the closest bus stop, the next bus should only be 3 minutes away! You will be able to get to Pearl with plenty of time to grab a coffee before work.  Mental high-five.

Alas, it is now 7:53 . The first and second buses, as posted on the morning commute schedule on RTD, are yet to appear.  At this point, you are guaranteed to be late, and forget about coffee.  But what do you see coming over the hill? Why it is a fleet of Skip buses, four in a row! They are following no schedule posted anywhere, but by-golly, they are traveling in a glorious pack.  The first bus is packed with high school students so you can ride standing up.  Yes, the other buses are empty, why do you ask?

You get off the bus and show up to work. Unfortunately, while you were waiting for the bus, they took out an ad for, interviewed, hired, and trained your replacement.  You are fired. The end.

If You Chose to Drive: You get into your car and wait between the awkwardly staggered traffic (another perk to both sides of the road being worked on) and finally peel out into traffic, in a school zone no less.  10 cool points are deducted from your ego.  Ouch.  You drive and park in the parking garage. As you get out of your car Al Gore comes out from the stairwell and hits you over the head with his Oscar because you just drove 2 miles to work.  The End.

Wasn't that a good story?