The long and winding commuter road

Americans are spending more time commuting these mornings and nights, which is another reason I like living and working in Berks County.My commute from Spring Township to Reading is twinkle quick except for when the West Shore Bypass is clogged by an accident or by PennDot making a project out of some minor repair.People who commute excessively are, in my polite opinion, insane. Why do they subject themselves to spending so much time by themselves? Only truckers do that and we all know about truckers. Just kidding. Never upset a trucker, whose splashing rig in a downpour can make your car behave like a bar of soap in a tidal wave.Plus, what a waste of time commuting is. All you can do is work, travel, eat and sleep. People who commute 90 minutes each way inhabit a world where they are willing prisoners of lost time.That is too high of a price to pay, even if you are commuting from a wealthy suburban enclave to a high-paying gig with more perks than a rock star. Of course, gasoline soon may be 10 bucks a gallon, which is another commuting issue unless you’re taking a bus or train. Plus, the highways these days are filled with broken heroes (OK, I stole that from Bruce Springsteen).But you get the point: There are so many bad drivers out there that by the time long-distance commuters get to the office they must feel as if they were worked over with a tire iron.You don’t have to be an oral surgeon to realize that a getting hit in the mouth with a tire iron has the capacity to turn a smile upside down.Driving long distance is either feast or famine. There are times when your blood pressure spikes because you have to raise your voice several octaves in response to some nutjob who’s trying to merge his gigantic SUV into your passenger seat while brushing his teeth. And there are times matched in dullness only by a conversation about the state of health of a fern.Of course, with technology exploding around us, in a few days we all may be able to park our commuting issues. Any day now we all will be telecommuting to work, lying in bed working on BlackBerries that do everything for us except brew a pot of coffee. And I hear Bill Gates’ wizards are working on that.