It’s My Commute, and I’ll Sing if I Want To

Mercier and his 1932 Model A Ford (1957)

The Mr. and his 1932 Model A Ford (Photo circa 1957)

I was driving home the other day, listening to the radio, singing out loud and I felt so free from an oppression I didn’t even know I had.  “I am singing in the car!”  It was akin to the moment in “What about Bob” where Bob yells, “I’m sailing, I’m sailing!”

Wait. You don’t know why?

I’m a metrolink rider for over seven years. You learn to cope with mass transit and all of its upsides and downsides, for the sake of a fixed transportation cost.  Lately, I find there are more downsides.

Downsides include learning intimate details of her proposal in Sedona that you never wanted to know, just because she was talking to her mom on the cell phone next to you. Or that another lady doesn’t want to tell her in-laws that she’s pregnant because she hasn’t found a way to tell her mom, whom she has to tell first, of course.  And so this is a major dilemma.

Waiting on the platform for your train in all sorts of weather (thank God there is no snow here), loud teenagers endlessly searching for seats, unavailable seats because it is occupied by someone’s luggage, people having coversations all around you constantly at various volumes, sitting three inches away from complete strangers–some smell, some fall asleep on you, trying to tweet on your phone while getting bumped by people’s baggage as they carelessly walk down the aisle, listening to the click click click click of someone’s mouse behind you, et cetera ad nauseum.

It’s strange.  All of this extra noise in your life.  (Now to be fair, Metrolink has just recently started a quiet car program.)  Either way, you cannot sing to the radio on the train.  You cannot compose blog posts in your mind while you enjoy the quiet and privacy afforded to you by being alone.

At that ephoric moment singing along with the radio, a quintessentially American experience, I realized the core of what offends me about the push for all of us to become mass commuters:  they want to Europeanize us and strip from us the one thing that truly makes us who we are:  American.

Our culture has been shaped by many experiences, don’t get me wrong, but the vehicle gave us freedom to move and the interstate highway system facilitated a boom in travel, vacationing, and priceless childhood memories.

Here are some examples showing the impact of cars on our culture:

Cars are part of our culture.

Make no mistake; this is a cultural war.  Those who believe we should use mass transit want to take our cars away through regulation, fuel price controls, or social pressure to be “green.”

Now, I’m not for the High Speed Rail project as I think it will financially derail, but I am totally against this push for us to buy lofts and work downstairs in blighted, urban areas or live close enough to walk to work.

No.  If I want to live 25 miles from my job that is my right. It’s my heritage. It’s my culture. I am an American and I won’t apologize.  Instead, I’ll sing.

Dig Deeper:

About Bridget Willard

Author of several marketing books including "How to Market Your Plugin," Bridget Willard is a teacher who focuses on building relationships. Small businesses benefit from consults that result in an actionable strategy to focus their effort and budgets. Bridget's services include in-house training, marketing strategy, copywriting, and social media account management. Her plugin “Launch With Words” is a value-add for developers to help those clients use their websites — publishing blog posts monthly. To empower small business owners, she writes, teaches, presents to small groups, and creates tutorials on her YouTube channel.   When she’s not inspiring small businesses, she is spending time with her friends, learning languages, or enjoying San Antonio. Say hi to her on Twitter at @BridgetMWillard.
This entry was posted in OpEd and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to It’s My Commute, and I’ll Sing if I Want To

  1. Weird they want to outlaw talking on cellphones, because the act of conversation is distracting. What about mandatory gags on passengers? Don’t want them being a distraction…

    • Good point; I was glad when Metrolink started having the Quiet Cars. It seems like after that, people all got a bit quieter and more respectful.

      In March, I’m experimenting with driving my 50 mile roundtrip commute. It may end up costing too much and I’ll go back to riding Metrolink, but my preference is to drive.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Comments are closed.