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Commuting has never been the same

Posted April 4, 2008

Jennifer Kitzmann
Life Editor

I have been commuting from one place to another since I was a kid. Every weekend my family crammed into a 1977 blue Chevy Camaro for the commute from Apple Valley to Los Angeles. My mom made us listen to Barbara Streisand the entire trip because my brother and I would always fight over which radio station to listen to and who would be sitting in the front seat.

My commute has changed a little since then. Traveling from Los Angeles to La Verne to the high desert every week is a job in itself. The constant flickering of the gas light from always being on empty and the paranoia of getting a speeding ticket makes my blood pressure go up more than usual.

Sometimes the thought of getting into the car makes me cringe. I try to prepare for my long commutes as if I were to prepare for a fire or earthquake or traveling to a foreign country.

I always have an extra couple of bags labeled school bag, workbag, office bag and gym bag so I can workout at the gym if I need to let out some stress. Car aerobics just isn’t the same and can be a little uncomfortable.

Car yoga can be really dangerous too. Especially if you get caught stretching your arms out the window with your head back and eyes shut.

Not only will you get in a car accident, the people in the car next to you may look at you strangely.

Even though I have seen people banging their head against the steering wheel a couple of times as if they were in a rock band, I am not sure that is the best way to deal with road rage or freeway jams. You may hurt yourself.

If you do not have an earpiece, get one. There is nothing more uncomfortable than your shoulder holding the phone to your ear and shoveling food in your mouth while writing down numbers. It’s just not a good idea.

I just looked over the other day and a lady was driving 45 mph brushing her teeth like she was in her own bathroom. I guess it’s a great idea but maybe not in the car.

A good set of spare keys for the house and car is always good to have.

You just never know when you may lock yourself out or lose them.

A Thomas guide or navigation system is really important if you get lost a lot. I have gotten lost in my own city more than once and still get lost on the Interstate 405. And sometimes asking people on the street for directions is a waste of time. Most people don’t even know where they are.

I usually have a lot of mints to chew on for anxiety and repetitive driving.

I once ate two tins of Altoids on the way to class and I was breathing like I was in Antarctica when I arrived.

Extra cash and a credit card are very important because you never know if you will get snowed in somewhere.

I also have a medicine-to-go-kit handy with Advil and antacids. You never know when you will lose track of how many energy bars and Red Bulls you have had after being in traffic. It can be taxing on your stomach muscles. I think the most important thing is having your triple A card on board just in case you break down.

Among other stranger things in my car are deodorant, tool kits and other items. I think I have it all. You just never know when you may need all of these things during a long drive somewhere.

Jennifer Kitzmann, a senior journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at jkitzmann@ulv.edu.