Real (simplistic) tips for a crazy commute, or road trip, whatever.

Because I am partially masochistic (or is it sadistic, I can never remember), I willingly read blogs that make my blood boil.  I’ve touched upon this in the past, and will probably do so in the future, since I can’t let shit go.

One blog I read (which shall continue to remain name- and link-less, so as to avoid sending more hits over there), had a post supposedly about how to deal with a shitty commute.  It was more like a play-by-play of her commute(s) to and fro.  Many commenters were like, “Eh, nice story, but where are the tips?”

I got your fuckin’ tips right here, folks.  Granted, most of this will probably be common sense, but I feel like putting this all out there.  So why not?

A little backstory:

I consider myself to be quite the expert on commuting – both for business and pleasure.  MANY moons ago, I moved in with a (now ex, of course) boyfriend down the Jersey Shore.  Problem was, I still worked in North Jersey.  So my commute TO work was about 1.5 hours.  My commute home was anywhere from 1.5 to over 3 hours.  This is because while not everyone GOES to work at the same time, you can bet your sweet ass that the majority of the corporate work is saying, “Peace Out, Fuckers!” at the stroke of 4:59pm.

When I worked in Philly, my commute by train was about 1/2 hour.  When I moved outside of Philly, that went up to about 1 hour.  Tips for train commutes are easy: iPod, reading material, sleep if you feel so inclined (Unless you think you might sleep past your stop.  That’d SUCK).  No smelly take-out foods, please.

At this time (the Philly era), I dated a guy who lived about 8 hours away.  YEAH.  That’s a hike and a half, and I did that most weekends.

After the Philly era, I moved back to the sticks of New Jersey.  Where my 15 mile commute took me close to an hour each way.

My current commute is probably the least stressful I’ve had in a long time – usually clocking in at about 30 minutes.  Although, it depends on the day – sometimes it has taken me an hour and a half to get home.  I keep trying to remember to check this before I leave.

So, yeah, I’m an EXPERT on this.

And now, the tips!

Whether embarking on your daily trek to the office, or hauling ass for a long-distance booty call, PREPAREDNESS IS KEY.  It sounds silly, but it’s very important. 

  • Make sure your tank is full (or at least the “E” light isn’t on).  Depending on the length of your drive, you may or may not have to stop along the way for gas, but I find that having to fill up right before leaving makes me cranky.  Like, Dude, I haven’t even left yet, and I have to stop already?  Or having to stop just a few minutes into my drive.  And keep an eye on your gas gauge!  If you are at a 1/2 or 1/4 tank and you see an exit for a Truck Stop/Gas Station up ahead, get off the highway and fill up.  You sure as hell do not want to run out of gas on the freeway.  At anytime, really, but especially not at 2am.  That is not the recipe for good times.
  • PEE before you leave.  To go ANYWHERE.  Even if you don’t have to, make yourself.  Because you never know when a tractor-trailer will jack-knife and you’ll be stuck on the PA Turnpike for 3 hours.  Trust me on this.  Being stuck in horrific, bumper-to-bumper traffic when your bladder is achingly full is a hell that no one should bear.  That being said, also make pit-stops as soon as you feel the urge.  Because you never know…
  • ROAD SNACKS.  I find pretzel nuggets to be ideal.  Bite-size, low-cal, not terribly messy and enough to take the edge off and keep you from drooling and caving at the first sight of a Bob’s Big Boy.  Because as much as driving on an empty stomach sucks, driving when you are sickeningly full is worse.  I usually don’t keep road snacks in the car on the daily, but for those longer trips, definitely.  That being said, beverages are important as well.  I make sure I have at least a 1/2 bottle of water with me in the car when I go to work and drive home.  Enough to keep me from dehydrating, but not too much to make me have to pee every 5 minutes.  Also be sure to bring your caffeinated beverage of choice, if you are going on a long drive.  Especially at night.  What you opt for is completely personal preference.  For me, it’s either Diet Pepsi or a coffee.  But hey, you might be a Red Bull person, or like those 5-hour energy shots (which don’t do a damn thing for me, by the way).  Whatever works for you.  Also, gum/hard candies/mints are good to have as well.  So you don’t have coffee breath when you arrive at your booty call’s place.  Um, wait.  I mean when you arrive at WORK. Riiight.
  • Communication.  Cell phones are a must.  For emergency purposes, and just to give a shout out to someone you haven’t spoken with in a while.  You have no idea how much more quickly the time goes by when you’re chatting.  Don’t do business calls while you’re driving.  That’s too much concentration being taken off of your driving.  Keep it light and fluffy.  Call Mom (unless THAT’s a stress-inducing conversation).  Call your BFF.  Whatever.  That being said, use a headset or a bluetooth.  SERIOUSLY.  Granted, I come from NJ, where multitasking while driving is practically required to get a license.  Parallel parking while sipping a soda and flipping off the asshole passing by?  I totally aced that shit.  But it’s dangerous (not to mention illegal in many, if not all, states), to not have a earpiece of some sort.  So do it.  Even if you look like a Time-Life Books customer service rep.  Also, make sure your equipment is charged before you leave.  Ideally, you should have a car charger, but if not…eh, I’ll forgive you.  For now.  But remember:  PREPAREDNESS!
  • Entertainment.  Honestly, I think  iPods are the way to go.  Geez, I remember back in the day, having to make 45 mix tapes or CDs for just one trip.  But having something to listen to helps alleviate boredom.  Radio is unreliable, since you never know when one region’s signal ends and another begins.  One second you could be rocking out to Metallica, and the next, you’ve got some Evangelist preaching to you.  En espanol.  Which is an abrupt change, to say the least.  But maybe you’re down for that.  Variety being the spice of life and all that jazz.  Ooh, maybe you’ll get a Jazz station.  That’d be rad for you then.  Or, you can just load up your iPod with all 1000-1billion of your favorite songs (or audio books!) and not worry about the unknown out there on the FM dial.  I say FM, because no one really listens to AM, do they?  I mean, unless it’s sports, right?  Anyway, also be sure to have your charger for the iPod as well.  Because that would suck if you were listening to War and Peace, and you were all engrossed in it and then…silence.  So then you HAVE to resort to the radio, and dude, if you end up stuck with the All-Soulja-Boy-All-The-Time station, that REALLY sucks.  Oh, and don’t watch movies while you’re driving.  That’s just irresponsible.  DVD players in cars…ridiculous.  Unless you are entertaining the children.  Then fine.  But I don’t want to see YOU on the road, watching your Girls Gone Wild video (that I KNOW you have, perverts) when you should be keeping your eyes on the road.  I will SO call the authorities on your ass.
  • Eyewear.  Seriously, if you wear glasses, make sure you keep them in the car.  Or at least a random spare pair.  Same with sunglasses.  Nothing sucks more than being blinded by the light while trying to get from Point A to Point B.  Except maybe driving in the middle of the night sans glasses when you have crappy night vision.

So, there you have it. Pretty basic tips, but maybe you could use this as a checklist of sorts before your next trip.  I’m here to state the obvious, and here to help, because it’s all about The More You Know.

About meredithelaine

forty-something. jersey girl in texas via california.
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