The daily grind: How ‘commuting’ is bad for the soul
“He blew his mind out in a car, he didn’t notice that the lights had changed”, in the lyrics from “A Day in the Life” (Sgt. Pepper album) were The Beatles referring to traffic congestion back in 1967 or someone who was searching for his soul?
Today’s modern commuter travels by a wide selection in their mode of transport, their journey can be by Car, Bus, Coach, Train, Aeroplane, Helicopter, Ferry, Bicycle or on foot.
Take a look at the faces of the average commuter, tired, haggard, and stressed by the conditions of the journey. Yet these people will endure this repetitive routine every morning, five days a week and almost every week in the year. Then incredibly they do it all again, after working a full day in the workplace, in order to reach home.
The most amazing fact of all is that these commuters choose to put themselves into this situation after all, the time spent commuting is not regarded as working hours. To put 1-2 extra hours onto the working day can add up to 10 hours a week. That’s quite a few free hours worked for the employer when you consider that many commuters open their laptops and start work on the train. This extension of the working day puts extra demands on the body and mind of the employee.
Those who commute by car, drive on some of the most highly congested routes around their cities and towns. Every day they watch the clock, the time slipping away before they must arrive at their desks. Blood pressure rises at red lights, fury and anger cover their faces when obstacles appear on their route. Engines and bodies overheat, if they open a window they breathe in the choking fumes that surround their car.
The same can be said for those who are able to walk; they endure thousands of other people pushing and shoving just to gain an extra place to cross the road. In the cities walkers are suffocating with the fumes, danger lurks from cars, irresponsible cyclists who insist on mounting sidewalks.
With every method of commuting come the problems that arise every day, mass transit is accused of offering a poor service, lateness and lack of cleanliness being the top grievances. Road accident and closures result in traffic being backed up for miles. Commuters try to arrive at work on time, being late is not always their fault.
Their souls destroyed, many commuters make the journey in a mindless manner, going through the motions of a mundane robotic society. But for most, they need their careers, they enjoy their work and for this they sacrifice their free spirit.