Since I managed to procure a parking space nearby my current contract, I’ve been driving to work instead of taking the bus. Even with rush hour traffic on the Edinburgh bypass, it cuts my commute down from an hour each way to half that. I do like getting home earlier in the evenings, and having a bit of extra sleep each morning, but I have also lost an hour of reading time from each day. If you have a look at my quick book reviews for 2004, you’ll see that in the first half of the year I’ve only managed to get through 14 books. Eek!
When I did my summing-up of 2003, I was terribly disappointed to find that I’d only read 37 books last year, and I was determined that I’d get through 50 this year. At my current rate I’ll be lucky if I crack 30. Damn.
However, aided by a postal DVD rental service (ScreenSelect), I’ve been burning through films like a wild thing: I’ve seen 39 new films this year already. That’s more than I watched in the whole of 2003. At least I’m not slacking off entirely in my consumption of entertainment.
Another side effect of driving to work is that I’m now a lot better informed about British current affairs than I have been in ages. I listen to the Today programme in the mornings, and to PM and the 6 o’clock news on the way back home. As a further consequence, I’m now less clued up about American politics than I used to be. I find that I can only cope with so much spin, double-talk, and outright lies in a single day, and I don’t need to supplement my daily dose with a helping of political blogs in the evening. The only American political blog I still read regularly is Talking Points Memo, and I usually catch up on it once a week.
Despite the usual stereotype of drivers being more stressed-out than non-drivers, I think that I’m actually more relaxed because of my drive. It’ll all have change when I next switch contracts, though.