For the past twelve years, I’ve commuted from Covina to Century City and back. When I add it all up, I’ve driven 218,880 miles and have sat in traffic for 420 days—that’s more than a year. I’m LMBO right now. It’s amazing to me that I’ve covered that much ground and that I’ve sat in traffic for over a year! By the way, I’m on my third car. The first two were used and my latest is new. It’s the first new car I’ve ever owned in my life, and now that I’ve gotten a taste of what it feels like to drive new, I’ll never go back to a hooptie.
Back to the numbers! At 218,880 miles, I could have driven around the world 8 times, gone to Lagos, Nigeria and back 14 times, and traveled from Los Angeles to New York and back 39 times. Did you know that there are approximately 218,000 miles of railroad track in the U.S? Yep, your girl has been on the road. I know crazy, huh. Look, I was just like you. Never in my wildest nightmares did I think I could drive that far to and from work. When I’d hear about it taking someone two and three hours to get home, I’d shake my head and think to myself that they were crazy. But when my husband and I decided to buy a house we wanted to get some bang for our buck and at the time, houses near my place of employment or even within twenty miles, were too expensive. And if they were affordable, they were the size of a doll house. By the way, this was before the subprime lending debacle.
It hasn’t been easy and it’s taken a toll. On some rainy days it’s taken me up to three hours to get home. How did I do it? I listened to a lot of talk radio, played a lot of CDs, and talked to a lot of folk on the phone, especially my oldest sister. I have to give her props, because she has gotten me through my commute during times when I just wanted to park my car on the ten freeway, jump on the hood, and holler, “I can’t take it anymore!” Well, I’m here to tell you that God does answer prayer.
About a month ago I started noticing signs regarding the Metro Express Lanes. At first I thought it was just a modification of the carpool lane, but it’s much more than that. The fast track allows solo drivers to get into these two new fast lanes on the ten freeway. I remember the week it opened up seeing drivers doing 100 miles an hour on the ten, while I was stuck in traffic going negative 10 miles an hour with countless other burned out drivers. I’d look over at the fast lane and it would be empty for miles and every now and then there would be a flash. What the! So I did some research and joined the FastTrack Program and it’s costing me less than $60 dollars a month and has taken about 40 minutes off of my commute! It’s miracle.
I really have a feeling that God is preparing me for the next great transition in my life. It’s like when a story is about to come to an end, everything becomes easier and comes together. The story of my life as a commuter is about to come to an end and soon the only trip I’ll have to make will be the one from my bedroom to my home office, and instead of sitting in traffic, I’ll be sitting at the computer writing my next novel!