I have avoided commuting to work as often as circumstance have allowed. If at all possible, I try to work within the immediate locale… in a perfect world, I would be able to walk to work in under an hour.

Rarely has this been the case, but rarer still have I had to drive more than a few minutes to work.

My current position is a half-hour`s drive up Interstate 97 to suburban Baltimore, with a posted speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour.

Perhaps I am unfamiliar with the local understanding of DC-area driving laws, because it seems that 65 is the minimum speed limit, as I have to keep my driving speed closer to seventy-five in order to keep from having a mile-long line of angry commuters on my rear bumper.

As this is all too often the case, I tend to avoid driving on Interstate highways when at all possible… trading a stressful and hasty arrival for the leisurely pace of scenic back-roads.

However, the long hours of my job (combined with the length of the drive) preclude this alternative. Nevertheless, there is one huge redemptive aspect to this necessary evil… highways in Maryland are simply beautiful.

Perhaps it is the influence of rabid anti-consumerist Leftists/tree-hugging zealots, or maybe just regular folks who don`t like their roadways cluttered with billboards, gas stations, and strip malls. Either way, Interstate 97 is more like a long secluded road through a nature preserve, as opposed to a hurtling corridor of commerce and transport.

The road bends and curves with the land, rising and falling through the varied elevations of the Piedmont foothills and winding around the inland estuaries of the nearby Bay. Natural landscapes of trees and meadows buttress the winding road. The only signs along the roadway identify distance and landmarks, the only outlets lead to the quiet hamlets and suburban small towns along the way.

Furthermore, if you need gas, you had better get it once you leave Annapolis or you will never make it to Baltimore or DC.

Even though many take this road, traffic is rarely heavy and it is an easy straight-shot drive. Once I set my cruise control, I usually do not even pick up my foot until I am almost arriving at my destination.

With the stereo blasting and a tall glass of iced Chai in one hand, my drive to work is often a rather relaxing endeavor.

In fact, towards the end of a workday, I often find myself looking forward to a “long” drive home.


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