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The Pleasures of the Commute

Recently, I had a podcast discussion with our board members John Hollon and Sue Meisinger about the benefits of working from home for both the employer and the employee.  As the cartoon here illustrates, telework is not an option for all jobs.

I was thinking about that while driving to work this morning.  I have a reasonably long commute (75″) from my seaside home to Kronos headquarters in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.  Because my town is not close to a major highway, I’ve had long commutes throughout the 26 years I’ve lived there.  Although this drive is one of the longest, I’ve never had a commute that was less than 45″ each way.

And that’s not all bad.  I listen to NPR and immerse myself in the news of the day and their quirky slice-of-life pieces.  I’ve listened to hundreds of recorded books – over 300 digital books in the seven years since Books on Tape sold their list to  Before that, there were hundreds of books on cassette tape.  Best so far?  The Count of Monte Cristo.

Every day there are the familiar landmarks that mark my progress.  Leaving town, I pass the sweep of Short Beach buffering the Atlantic Ocean to the right and Captain’s  Seaside on the left where the usual cast of characters has gathered to discuss town politics.  Then Lynn, a landing place for immigrants from all over the world, where newly arrived African, South & Central American, and European parents mix with life long Lynners dropping off their kids at the elementary schools.  Saugus, Lynnfield & Wakefield – all with small lakes and ponds that reflect the colors of the changing seasons.  Reading, where the traffic backs up in the center of a town founded in 1644. On through Wilmington where my route takes me through mostly commercial zones and where I stop to get my car washed.  In Billerica, there is a pair of perfectly symmetrical maple trees on the side of the road that have already passed the peak of their showy fall colors.  There’s the man I call Peter Boyle because he looks like that actor – and who walks to an unknown job that entails coveralls.

And then there are the little suprises on any given day.  The little boy in Saugus this morning who looked like my son at that age – and who was trying to help the trash collectors with his family’s barrels.  The 20-something guy who smiled and flashed me the peace sign for no apparent reason.

I do work from home a couple of days a month, and get a lot done when I do. But on those days, I do wonder if I missed the opportunity to finally figure out where Peter Boyle works.

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