Everyone hates traffic right? The words ‘daily commute’ send shivers down spines. People dread traffic jams; they bang their head on the steering wheel, blast their horn in frustration and tear actual chunks of hair from their head.
Well, not necessarily. Over the past 8 months I actually grew to miss it. Call me crazy, but in my experience ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone’ can even apply to the daily commute.
You see, Prince G was born in August last year and I gave up work for 8 months. I gave up meetings, documents, difficult stakeholders, staffing issues and cake. I didn’t use a desktop computer for more than half a year (nor a desk come to think of it). And I also gave up driving to and from work five days a week.
I didn’t know it was a problem, until I found myself day-dreaming about it. I would put the radio on while feeding Prince G in the rocking chair and turn up the volume during the traffic update. At first it was a simple pleasure – to scoff at those having to go to work – but it quickly became more than that. While I was at home, on my own, mopping up vomit and assembling play gyms, the rest of the world was driving to work. En masse. Without me.
People in traffic jams might be cranky, but they have something in common with everyone else in that jam. They are part of a community. A community of bumper-to-bumper fury that only those on their way to work can understand.
Don’t get me wrong: I wasn’t one of those mums that hides inside all day, never showering or eating. I regularly got out of the house. But when I did it was never during peak hour. It was between the sensible hours of 10am and 3pm. I formed an en masse community of my own: mums and bubs. A wonderful, yet temporary, community.
I started back at work three weeks ago. I looked forward to catching up with colleagues, sinking my teeth into a new project and… yes… joining the daily commute.
I fill a furnace up with coffee, settle into the drivers seat and switch on the traffic report.
An hour later, I arrive at work with a cheery ‘Good morning!’
My co-worker groans. ‘Egghhh… wasn’t the traffic terrible!?’
‘It sure was,’ I say, and roll me eyes. But deep down I feel an inner thrill that this is now a conversation I can be part of again.