Hooniverse Asks- What do you do to While Away the Time in Traffic?

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According to a USA Today article published earlier this year, Los Angeles once again wears the crown of the U.S. metro area with the worst traffic. As an Angeleno, my response is, yeah well, duh

Even if your city isn’t in the top 10, or if you’re sitting there wondering what the heck is USA Today, you most likely spend some part of your life sitting in traffic either on the highway, or on city streets on your way to your burg’s most popular food and beverage emporium. It seems that these days, owing to how people tend to have to congregate in population clumps to find gainful employment and stave off frightening individualism, that traffic is a natural byproduct.

What I want to know today is what do you do to keep boredom at bay during these slo-mo drives? According to that USA Today article, traffic in LA can quadruple drive times, and that the average commute is nearly half an hour. What do you do to maximize your time while in that traffic?

Image source: GuestofLA

61 Comments

  1. I correct spelling mistakes. Today I corrected the misuse of While for Wile.
    Yes I am that boring, aaaand that much of an ass.

  2. I brush my teeth, shave, make and eat pancakes and get dressed in my car on the way to work. it's okay, if I get into an accident, my Suburban will keep me safe.
    Just kidding, I never shave.

    1. In vehicles I've seen men shave, women farding (look it up), people eating a bowl of cereal, hamburgers, reading books, curling hair, urinating and watching pron. I've seen a woman using a breast pump, only to be outdone by the woman breast feeding a baby.
      I've seen a lot with my 15 years of commuting. On occasion I still see something that surprises me.

      1. I'm afraid to google "farding" on my work computer, but I can tell you I fart in my car all the time.

        1. Merriam-Webster has a website. There are other options than typing horrible looking things into google and getting goatsed every time you're curious about stuff.

  3. Music, usually from a home made mix cd.
    One day, I'll join the rest of you in the 21st century with your fancy em-pee-three's and satellite radio. Until then, quit playin' ball in my yard!

    1. I drive from one nowhere-town to another. That, I like.
      Just wish they were connected by a twisty road.

    2. Me too!
      Sometimes there will be a train though. In that case I start pressing buttons and accidentally phone my sister.

    3. You know how sometimes the tractor in front of you is taking up about 1.2 lanes and you can't quite pull around?
      That's traffic.

  4. Downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift,coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift, coast, accelerate, upshift, coast, brake, coast, downshift

      1. My car spent 146,000 miles in #10 (Boston).
        I think the previous owner said this is clutch #3, and it's not in the greatest shape.
        Also, I sometimes get a nasty rattle when I set off… it's worse if I have to slip the clutch.
        But hey, 148k so far, most of it urban/suburban. The little display said 22.7 average MPG when I got him, 29.something now, since I reset it. My driving's a lot more mixed.

        1. I learned to do that by necessity in a friend's Buick Skylark, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. Clutch went out, and I got it all the way back to Fresno, grinding grinding grinding over the Sierras, stalling at high speeds at really inconvenient moments.
          The worst part was pulling into a Bakersfield gas station. Friend kept yelling at me as I tried to pull away from lights, from a stop sign, while trying to make a U-turn. . . Finally screamed at him to GTFO of the car and meet me at the the ARCO down the road. I lurched into the station, couldn't get it out of gear so I stomped on the brakes and juggered forward to within a inch of a Cadillac Seville before it stalled.
          I jump out of the Buick. Guy in the Cadi gives me a long dirty look. Friend comes running up, the fingers of both hands threaded through his hair, eyes like plates. He looked at the space between the cars and visibly relaxed, shoulders slumped, took a deep breath. . . and farted.
          Tension shattered the way tension shatters. We laughed so hard we couldn't stand. We were sitting on the ground laughing five minutes later when the cops the station attendant had called arrived. We laughed through all their sobriety tests, laughed so hard they couldn't get a good read on the breathalyzer. Laughed as we got gas and loaded up on coffee and candy bars for the last leg of the trip. Laughed as we smoked half a pack of Winstons in that ARCO parking lot.
          We didn't talk at all the last hundred miles of that trip, but every now and again one of us would start giggling and the madness exploded in the car like some sort of hysteria bomb. Pulled into Fresno as the sun was lightening the sky, high on oxygen and endorphins and caffeine and nicotine and the satisfaction the we'd driven over 200 miles without a clutch.

        2. Thanks for bringing up that memory. Hadn't thought about that night in ten years. Made my day.

      2. Gotta love when the shifter starts to get hot to the touch…
        Fuck you, San Francisco…

    1. Same here, except the CBR slows down plenty with just engine braking, so I rarely touch the brake unless traffic comes to a sudden stop.
      My new gig has me headed to the P&L from the southwest, right through all of that lovely I-35 bridge construction.
      Yippie.

  5. My commute is boring only because it's 25 miles of arrow-straight empty country roads. The only time it's crowded is during picking season, and then it's not boring–it's terrifying. Twenty-car caravans of field workers running stop signs for the sake of not losing sight of the only guy who knows where they're going, top-heavy overloaded minivans alternately going way too slow or way too fast. I saw one swerve to avoid a coyote and go onto two wheels three times before he somehow got it under control. . .
    But I digress. I fight boredom by singing inside my motorcycle helmet. Today, I got eight songs into a set the Foo Fighters played at The Forum on October 13, 2011:
    Bridge Burning
    Rope
    The Pretender
    My Hero
    Learn to Fly
    White Limo
    Arlandria
    Breakout
    Damn, that concert was great.

  6. I admit, I'm one of the jackasses who checks his phone while stopped. That said, there's a lot of time stopped in Toronto (we've been dubbed the Accidental City, based on our committment to planning). Other than that, I'm checking the radio for something I want to listen to (cd player's busted). I do a wicked falsetto over Knights of Cydonia, even if I'm absolutely tone deaf.

    1. Six months of commuting from Mississausage to downtown TO, plus a year of MississMcCallion to Alliston, ON gave me such a fear of commuting that I left ON thirteen years ago and have never had more than a thirty minute walk to my workplace ever since. I will never, ever commute again. Unless I'm paid millions and driven to the office in the back of a limo with a half dozen lingerie-clad beauties and a hookah. In other words, never.

      1. Fair enough – I'm High Park to Thornhill/Richmond Hill (thankfully we just hired someone in Markham again, so I don't have to trek out there as well), so it's not absolutely horrendous, but I don't love it. I can only imagine how terrible HazelTown to DownTown was.
        I did the commute to Alliston for a few months as well, that was less terrible, just a lot of mileage to rack up (but considering I drove to Georgian College up in Barrie for three years, I was used to it). The 400 can still burn though.

        1. I do miss commuting from Stayner to Alliston at 5am in my LX 5.0 In those days 140mph was easy for long stretches.

  7. Chicago – listen to The History Channel's Youtube channel. Might as well learn something other than how stupid people are.

  8. I have snacks hidden everywhere. In the center console, in the ashtray in every nook and cranny I can find. And Dont forget the soda under the passenger seat! When I get stuck I get my munch on!

      1. It has been around for a while, and it sure made the rounds on teh interwebs and the local news…

          1. Oh wow, you did… Dammit, you mean I could have found it easier!?
            *kicks stuff*

  9. Like the photo from Brazil above, I commute 15 miles each way in LA traffic on a motorcycle, so I never really get "stuck" in it. But I do sing crappy 80s tunes to myself as I ride.

  10. I pretty much just scream my lungs out, and pound on the steering wheel. If you see me, wave!

  11. I go to great lengths to sneak in, out and around on the back roads to avoid the Boston-area rush hour traffic. Unlike most later, more modern cities, there are plenty of confusing (but useful!) little back road routes to choose from.
    Luckily, most people are just content to sit on the highway and not try to figure out the small-road routes.

  12. I'm a permanent telecommuter. Getting to work doesn't necessarily require putting on pants. (Ok, ok, I'm in Northern California, some of us with hour long commutes don't bother with pants either.) So my main traffic technique is to be either not on that road or be going the other way.
    There are times when I don't manage to avoid it. I normally try to find a classic rock or if it's a really long road trip, country station. Although, I had an idea for overhauling my stereo system recently, it may happen this summer. I've got a few other things I want to do to the Jeep first. Listen to music or talk to my passenger is it. There's also a side of What Alff Does™ and Breath Exhaust Fumes, since my vehicle just isn't terribly well sealed with the top up.

  13. My commute is now 15-20 minutes, never more than 30 minutes. I just listen to the radio. The local shock jocks/talk in the morning and either talk or NPR in the afternoon.
    Back when I had a 1-1/2 to 2 hour commute each way I listened to lots of books on tape or CD. I had a car without a tape player (CD only) , but books on tape are significantly cheaper than books on CD. I would use a walkman with a FM modulator in the headphone jack. I have never read any of the Harry Potter books, but I did listen to the first 3 or 4. I always got unabridged editions, so they were 8-20 hours depending on the book.

  14. Podcasts… Lots of them. Radio sucks anymore because it's 23 minutes of commercials and 12 minutes of content(I timed it once). Yes I can do the MP3 thing but that gets old pretty quick (I have a MAJOR aversion to repetition).
    Devising the best way to install a cow-catcher on a dump truck so I can plow through traffic flipping cars over on their lids. THe dumptruck thing is important because you need to carry a lot of mass and it's beneficial to dump when the cops start chasing you.
    If I'm in the Bronco I have the added bonus of being able to look down at the cute girls.

  15. I listen to the Howard Stern show. There are days I get to work and finish listening to a segment while sitting in a parking spot

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