Friday, August 20, 2010
Twiddling My Thumbs
New Zealand has made a very good faith effort to improve the commute through the provision of a very nice train. It’s clean, fairly priced, and generally on time. The rail line runs south all the way to Pukekohe. As I understand it, the line also runs out to western neighbors some considerable distance, as well as connecting to bus lines throughout the region. I don’t know if there are plans for expansion, but we can only assume so. The traffic here on the highway is just as bad (and in some places worse) than Seattle. Public transit options are the only long run solution to gridlock.
A surprising number of my fellow commuters are students. They shlep all the way from the outer suburbs and rural outlying regions into the city to attend decile 10 (high income) schools in the CBD such as Kings College and Auckland Grammar. I have trouble recognizing the motivation needed to stick a kid on a train for a 3 hour round trip commute just to get said offspring into a marginally better school. It seems to me that there are so many better ways a child could spend her time, the educational advantage lost with the time frittered away texting friends and watching the cows roll by every morning and evening. In that sentiment, DrC and I are clearly in the minority regardless of the country. Kiwi, American, or Aussie, all parents… or at least all Right Thinking Proper Parents… send their kids to the absolute best school available no matter the sacrifice.
My time is also too valuable to spend on this endless journey back and forth. Two hours a day sitting on my ass staring at the back of the head in front of me and listening to podcasts is going to drive me mad as beernuts and brie. I don’t mind the 15 minute walk on either end which can count towards my daily step goal. In fact, on the way home I’ve been rerouting for greater distance and increased difficulty just to make sure the exercise does me a bit of good. It’s only the train time that I feel needs to be booked end to end with something useful.
I’ve got the weekend to sort this out. On Monday I resume the daily commute. Hopefully, inspiration will strike in the form of a fully realized plot or a perfectly imagined, mouth wateringly sexy hero. Otherwise, I’m doomed to a daily regime of 500 games of Spider Solitaire.