The Star-News


More room for driving exercises

Sat, Mar 08 2014 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Undoubtedly there are those who are giddy with the knowledge that carpool lanes will soon be open in South County.

Anyone regularly caught in the armagaddonesque traffic jam on north- or south-bound Interstate 805 will welcome the additional lanes.

Fewer cars in single occupancy vehicle lanes means more highway real estate for motorists travelling solo. And those few extra feet will translate into fewer seconds and minutes spent crawling along the highway. That will invariably give people more time to send text messages and talk on the phone once they’ve reached the safety of surface streets.
But veterans of carpooling  may be taking the new traffic easing tools in stride. They know the road to faster commute times is not an unbumpy one.

For those who will do their environmental duty and organize ride-shares among their fellow employees, they’ll soon discover the joy of spending even more time with people whom they already spend much too much time.

They’ll discover their cube mate doesn’t just make annoying back-of-the-throat clicking sounds like an owl while he’s on the phone with a client, he makes those same sounds while seated next to you staring out the window on your way home in the dark.

Or they may find themselves bypassing the early morning gridlock with the co-worker who is not only late for every office meeting that’s ever been convened, but also manages to be late every single morning and evening when it’s your turn to drive and be elsewhere at a set time. They’ll experience the joy of having someone apologize profusely for being tardy; of being sworn to that it won’t happen again and of reliving the same scene the next day. Week after week.

And on the occasions when the good-hearted carpooler is the passenger and not the driver, they’ll experience the benefits of vehicle cardiovascularics. In other words, the act of giving their heart a good workout by watching their driver taligate a late model Mercedes driven by a gray head that  appears to barely peer over the dashboard.

Their workout will go to the next level as they frantically —desperately — slam their right foot onto a break pad that’s supposed to be at their feet but isn’t because they are not driving and, as the passenger, they have no control.     
And their grip will strengthen each time they clutch the “Oh my God!” bar on the passenger’s side and pull themselves up a few inches in anticipation of the inevitable crash.

With all the added benefits that come with ride-shares and carpool lanes, it’s no wonder people are giddy.


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