THE OTHER DAY I OVERHEARD TWO co-workers comparing rush-hour war stories. One of them complained that the light at McKinney and Lemmon was broken, delaying his normal 12-minule trip to the office. The other moaned that her 10-minute haul from Lakewood was so cluttered with folks dodging construction on North Central, she wished she had bought that Deep Ellum loft so she could just walk to her downtown office. Commuting, they agreed, is hell.
I wanted to reach over and slap them both. I have spent years fighting infuriating traffic snarls-not just a few measly stoplights, but mile upon mile of monotonous superhighways that snake their way downtown. I commuted into Dallas from Mesquite for three years, and I’ve commuted into Dallas from southwest Arlington for the last eight.
I realize that damn near everybody who knots a tie or pulls on pantyhose in Dallas drives to get to work. But that alone does not a commuter make. True commuters like myself spend more time in our cars than with our kids. Traffic tickets are a line-item on our family budget. If you think getting downtown via the wide boulevards of Highland Park is commuting, you probably think that eating a light burrito at Taco Bell is dieting. Anybody can make an obscene gesture to an obnoxious motorist, but it takes a true commuter to flip someone off while drinking coffee, talking on the car phone and steering with one knee. You get some Park Cities Lexus-lover trying such a move and somebody’s bound to get hurt.
As a public service, I have prepared the following quiz to help identify the real commuters among us. Give yourself one point for every question that you answer (a), two points for each (b) and three for every (c).