Extreme Commuting: Unfolding Myself
“According to the ONS, no form of commuting enhances overall levels of satisfaction and self-esteem. Worse, its study of 60,000 travellers found that each 10-minute increase in journey time has a significant impact on the well-being of the commuter. On the other hand, once the trip to work exceeded 90 minutes, the harmful effects began to disappear.”
Having just spent half a year trying to avoid driving more than an hour and a half one way to Colchester, and another hour and a half back, I cannot agree with this survey at all. Two hours spent in the car in total was tolerable, three hours was seriously pushing it, tipping over that golden ninety minutes each way sent me steering wheel gnawingly insane.
In my case, exceeding a commute of 90 minutes had a number of ill effects ranging from fatigue, deep grumpiness, migraine, travel sickness and what felt like incipient night blindness. In short, I quickly realised that over 90 minutes spent commuting in the car bent me out of shape. Mentally. I was seriously close to buying a BMW 5 series, that’s how deranged I had gotten before Christmas. Fortunately I was pulled back from the German automobile brink, but physically I have been altered, perhaps for ever…
I finished with the super commute last week, so this week I started as I mean to go on, and went to a yoga class. My hastily assembled outfit caused some merriment in the children when they came home from school (now teenagers, they judge their mother harsh sartorially and often with, it has to be said, good reason). Little do they know that what I looked like in the actual yoga studio was the least of my worries.
Even a few short minutes of sitting cross-legged on the floor (or whatever the usual yoga seated pose is called) had me thinking I would never make it through a whole hour. Fortunately we moved through a few poses, which I cobbled together as best I could, with my back and right hip complaining more or less throughout. Additionally, and somewhat unexpectedly, for the class duration I seemed to be dealing with a whole small gibbon wrapped round my frontage. This beast clung on tight throughout, impeding any movements that involved bending forward; threatening to suffocate me on occasion.
This week I have learned that spending a thousand hours in a car is not a recipe for yoga success. I have also learned that one’s best efforts to get all ironed out in the body department will be considerably hindered by wearing a small gibbon, as if in an invisible baby sling. Still, I’ve signed up to go again, because at the very least something must be done about the gibbon.