While in Heslinki once, I attended a farewell party for a colleague who had resigned. In her parting speech, she explained that the reason she was quitting was that she had to commute 25 minutes one way and this was like wasting 8% of the time that she was awake. She had found a job in a smaller town where her office was just 5 minutes away.
I agree with them.All my life, I have managed to live fairly close to my school/college/work place. Commuting has never taken more than 30-45 minutes, whether by bus/cycle/scooter or car. Whenever I visit Mumbai or Delhi and find myself admiring the energy levels and vibrancy of these cities, I quickly think of the commuting that most of my colleagues out there have to put with. Then I thank my stars that I don’t have to endure such torture.
Jonah Lehrer quotes from his own column in Seed magazine and makes me feel even better:
"A few years ago, the Swiss economists Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer announced the discovery of a new human foible, which they called "the commuters paradox". They found that, when people are choosing where to live, they consistently underestimate the pain of a long commute. This leads people to mistakenly believe that the McMansion in the suburbs, with its extra bedroom and sprawling lawn, will make them happier, even though it might force them to drive an additional forty-five minutes to work. It turns out, however, that traffic is torture, and the big house isn't worth it. According to the calculations of Frey and Stutzer, a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40 percent more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office. The reason long commutes make us so unhappy is that the flow of traffic is inherently unpredictable. As a result, we never adapt to the suffering of rush hour. (Ironically, if traffic was always bad, and not just usually bad, it would be easier to deal with.) As the Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert notes, "Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day."