This is the exact headline from a Wall Street Journal article on August 24th when there was a sixty mile traffic jam on the outskirts of Bejing (the jam originally began on August 13th, eleven days prior) that according to Chinese officials "they didn't expect the situation to return to normal until around Sept. 17 when road construction is scheduled to be finished and traffic lanes will open up".
THAT'S OVER A MONTH!
Driving to work is most likely the worst part of a 9-5'ers day as I would bet half to two-thirds of the people in this world have the same exact schedule and are just trying to get there without starting their day off angry or wanting to kill someone. It stinks even more when you have either a very long commute or one that is filled with rush hour traffic.
My fiance seems to have won the jackpot when it comes to horrific commutes, she enjoys a 45 mile one-way drive up I-355 to Route 53 (which has her get slammed by both the I-88 and I-290 construction zones), which takes her anywhere around an hour and a half to two hours. This dwarfs my commute by a hundred fold as the worst I have to deal with is taking Rand Rd (Rt. 12 to some) a few miles up to Lake Zurich for work, maxing my commute out at around a half hour.
The funny part is that when I lived in Lakeview and worked in the loop, I drove my car maybe two to three times a week max with the farthest place being the one time I would visit my parents or fiance in the "burbs". I was used to walking from my apartment to the Brown line on Southport, hopping on the train/transfering to the Red line and then walking 5 feet to my building front door.
Looking back, I always used to think driving to work was so awesome as you can be on your own time schedule...listen to your own music...quietly flick as many other people off as you want (I guess you could still do this on the train)...or whatever else you would want to do as it was your own space.
The good news for residents of Bejing is that about twenty-four hours after the Wall Street Journal article was written the congestion disappeared over night, but it makes you think what the heck people did for food, sleep, SHOWER'S (must have been a smelly highway), or even what they told their jobs ("Hey, I'm stuck in traffic, running a little late and I might not be in till next Thursday...").
I now know that I had it easy hopping on the CTA, paying my $2.25 a ride and getting to work in forty-five minutes, but just like I bet everyone else thinks that their commute is the WORST and unbearable...I'm here to say that it could be a lot worse, you could still be stuck on the Bejing-Tibet highway for another two weeks and forgot to pack a lunch...