It’s back to school week and now that vacation season is over, public transportation is once again filled with swarms of people at peak hours. The streets are also filled with a lot more cars, and drivers are honking at each other in anger at several intersections where there are traffic jams. They’ll have to get used to the increase traffic over the coming weeks.
Looking at the sea of cars yesterday, I thought of how much I hate being stuck in traffic.
I am a little claustrophobic, you see, and I am no fan of feeling confined to a small space like a car. When I think of the record-breaking 12 days traffic jam which occurred in Beijing, China in 2010, I feel chills coming on. I would prefer living through a zombie apocalypse rather than being in such a scenario.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to ride a car on a week-long road trip, and enjoy taking the plane a great deal. But put me in a traffic jam for 15 minutes, or make me wait in the passenger seat while you are looking for parking, and I quietly start climbing the walls. I’ll sit peacefully on a plane for hours despite turbulence, but as soon as we land I want to rush out and can’t wait for the doors to open.
Go figure. Phobias are a strange thing.
My hate of traffic and of travelling by car in the city are among the reasons why I live in a central area, close to the center and my work. It is why I prefer taking the bus, which I don’t have to drive or park, and in which I can sit and read my emails in peace. I often ride the bus outside of peak hours as my work hours are flexible. And I would gladly pay more rent in order to save 20 minutes of the time I spend in transit.
You could say that I have a problem. But yesterday as I looked at all the cars stuck in traffic, I realized something: if everyone was like me, global warming wouldn’t be as bad.
Think about it. If everyone hated traffic, looking for parking and driving around the city as much as I do, they wouldn’t use one car per person and would walk, take a bike, ride share or hop on the bus. Instead of being so spread out around a big city center towards which hoards of humans converge each day, cities would once again be organised around smaller neighborhoods with their own centers. Wouldn’t it be bliss to have services and work close to home? Forget the suburbs!
Have you seen Chasing Ice? If not, see it now! Global warming is very real and it’s impacts are already felt.
And in that sense, I think it’s safe to say that impatient and claustrophobic people like me are the future of humanity.
Composting, recycling and avoiding mindless consumption can’t hurt either, of course! So head over to the Zero Waste Home blog for great tips and inspiring lessons!
Read The Worst Traffic Jams in History by Jim Gorzelany on Forbes.
Watch Chasing Ice, a disturbingly beautiful account of the impacts of global warming.
First image created using the photo ”Traffic Jam” by Wendell on Flickr.
Second image created using the photo ”Chicago suburbs from the air” by Scorpions and Centaurs on Flickr.