commuting and moving and pollution….


this morning i woke up at a friend’s place way out in the fraser valley, and thus had to do what thousands of people seem to do every day – get in my car and drive for two hours to get to work. i just have such a hard time believing that there are people out there who commute like that 5 days a week, so monstrous is the traffic starting and stopping – watching the odometer creep as the hour ticks closer to the start of the working day.

it’s bad enough that we sit in these prisons called cubicles 8 hours or more per day, but to also spend 2-4 hours in the casket that is one’s car seems like truly inhuman punishment. what kind of a culture is it that normalizes such nonsense?

because i never drive in from the valley at that time in the morning, before today i have not noticed that first thing (around 6:30 or so) in the morning, the smog layer rolling out of the city is particularly striking in its toxic appearance. this morning was clear as a bell, except for the rolling brown fog blowing on an ocean’s breeze down the highway – making for some of the poorest air quality in canada. even worse is that once you are under the brown cloud, it becomes imperceptible as if to trick us into thinking that the air we are breathing is good for us….

i think it is time to move away – but here is my own dilemma about commuting – if i move to the sunshine coast it will be a trip at least a few times a week by ferry and bus into the city. can i handle that? i have never had to travel more than 25 minutes by bus (55 minutes walking) – and could i stand the idea of working from home a couple of days per week? every time i get close to looking for a place over on that side of the mainland, i stop myself by worrying that it won’t work out – that somehow i will destroy my career, my union work, and will be consigned to a life of singledom (which shouldn’t even matter, but when i’m on a roll with worrying it does).

but the other side of me wants just a little house with a garden and a fruit tree – which i can afford there – and i can’t afford in the city. it’s so ridiculous this conundrum of working class life – that where we can afford to live is not where we work, thus suspending us perpetually in a state of dislocation – never firmly rooted in the place where we live *or* where we work. i suppose that if we were more planted in one locale we might more fiercely fight for it, or steward it, rather than treating it as one more waypoint on the road to our consumer paradise.

at least i have a computer job, and it is feasible to work from any part of the province as long as i have an internet hook-up. a good friend’s advice last night and the brown cloud on the horizon this morning swung me back in the direction of moving up the coast for my physical and mental health which will surely deteriorate the longer i stay here…..

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