Saturday, March 05, 2005

Let The Train Take The Strain

I had something of an epiphany on the way to work last week. As someone who 'works to live', rather than 'lives to work', I seek at all times to minimise time spent on employment related activities. I include in this the commute to and from work. For a long time, I was fortunate in that I was able to walk to my place of employment. An ideal scenario - no delays, no dependency on buses or trains, and some exercise thrown in. As well as the option of a few post-work beers with no need to worry about driving home.

Unfortunately, my current job offers no such benefits. Before taking the job, I scrutinised the transport options with some trepidation. Indeed, I was almost dissuaded from taking the job because of the travel involved. There were two scenarios:

1. Drive to work. Approximately 90 minutes round trip, all by car.

2. Take the train. Approximately 25 minutes walking and 90 minutes by train, for a total of 115 minutes.

That's 7-1/2 to almost 10 hours a week travel time.

I chose the car option, simply because it was quicker. It was a bad decision. Navigating through swarms of commuter traffic, driven by selfish bastards, is not my idea of fun. Each day I was reaching work, already worn down just by the effort of getting there. At night, I was storming into the house, more in need of a sedative or punchbag than dinner.

My little mishap in the car forced me to re-evaluate my approach. I realised that car time is dead time. Every minute of the trip is a trial, every hour spent in the car an hour drained from my life bank for no return. I honestly felt the journey was steering me towards Heart Attack Alley.

The train may take longer, but the improvement is infinite. 25 minutes of walking will provide at least some counterbalance to my sedentary poker playing hours. 90 minutes of train time is 90 minutes of reading, writing, thinking time.

As a child, I was a voracious reader on a wide variety of subjects. Recently, the only tomes to pass before my eyes have been poker related. I intend to change that.

It's been interesting reading the heartfelt reactions of other bloggers to the death of Hunter S. Thompson. I've always been aware of his reputation, and always thought I should read some of his work, but I've just never gotten round to it. Maybe I will now. He's not alone in being neglected by me. I have a range of books to catch up on - though in the short term they may need to yield to Cool Names for Babies and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer.

My mind is always active, but I'm a disorganised thinker. Thoughts ping-pong around my head in random fashion, occasionally coming together in some fortuitous manner when I'm positioned to do something about them, but often careering off into the recesses of my mind, only to return weeks later when it's too late to act. Even Mrs Div struggles to follow some of my thought processes, as thoughts ricochet off my skull and embed themselves in some barely related ongoing discussion.

Taking the train will give me more organising and actioning time. I've already invested in a little notepad for jotting down thoughts as they occur, and the restoration of my laptop will give me the opportunity to write whenever I feel so inclined. When the baby comes along, my home time will be eaten up by other more pressing issues, so I need to make more of the opportunities I have for personal enrichment.

The process has already begun. The gist of this article was the first jottings in my new notepad, and I'm sure there are more to come.


As an aside, how the hell do people settle on baby names? Mrs Div and I are having some interesting 'discussions' on the subject at present.

I'm tempted to abandon the aim of a name that's normal enough to avoid schoolyard jibes, but individual enough to have some character, and go for something a little more outlandish, but rewarding in a practical sense.

I can just picture the family argument in 18 years time - 'But honestly son/daughter. If we hadn't called you Party Poker Bonus Code Div1970 - and held your christening party in a casino - we never could have afforded to put you through college. Anyway, when Mike Sexton announced you were "all-in" as the priest dunked you in the baptismal font, it was a very emotional moment for me.'

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