Our son Michael in Tennessee is starting a new career as a correctional officer with the state of Georgia. The prison where he will be working is about 45 minutes away from where he lives and he told me this past weekend his family plans to move about halfway between the workplace and their current home so neither he nor his wife have an overly long commute.
They will still be living in Tennessee, which will allow our granddaughter to stay in the same school. That’s definitely a plus.
I remember about 30 years ago I was working at the newspaper in Henderson and Jane was working in Raleigh, first at N.C. State University and later at what was then known as the Employment Security Commission.
We lived about halfway between the two, but in hindsight it’s obvious that it wasn’t a fair division of driving difficulty.
She had to endure the Raleigh rush hour traffic. She navigated slow-moving and sometimes not-moving-at-all traffic both to and from work.
The drive was exhausting even before the work day itself started. When she would get home in the evenings she was worn out at least as much from the commute as from anything she had done on the job.
Me? I had about a 30-minute drive to work, but it traversed country roads with pleasant scenery the whole way. Sometimes I would travel 15 minutes before even meeting another vehicle on the road.
Even when I got to town, the traffic was never much of an issue.
The few times I had to drove to Raleigh in the morning myself I kept wondering, how does anyone do this five times a week?
And Jane was doing it five days a week, both mornings and evenings.
She seemed to be in a perpetual bad mood in those days, and increasingly I understand exactly why: That traffic was enough to keep anyone in a bad mood.
So I hope Michael and Jessica are able to find a location that may or may not be halfway on the map, but will be fair to both in terms of traffic-induced anxiety and aggravation.
I’m hopeful. They’re both wiser than I was at that age.
I wish I had understood what Jane was dealing with sooner and had done something about it, but enough time has passed now that I’m not sure she even thinks about it much anymore.
I hadn’t thought about it much until I got a text from Michael explaining that they were looking for a location that would be halfway between the two workplaces in order to be fair to both.
I hope they find what’s fair, whether it’s halfway or not.
Reggie Ponder is a columnist for The Daily Advance