Time is a precious commodity. I guess I didn't realize how much until a recent business trip to Southern California and some exposure with Los Angeles-area traffic.
Let me preface this account by telling you that I live 2.5 miles from the Rubber & Plastics News office in Akron. My commute is 7 minutes each way. Never in my working life have I lived more than 5 miles from work. And I am spoiled by this.
So you can imagine my culture shock when transplanted for a week into the L.A. area.
After a long travel day on Sunday—15 hours from start to finish—my week of highway fun began on Monday.
I will acknowledge I added to my own daily commutes by staying roughly 30 miles north of LAX to be near friends who live there, rather than closer to my planned visits. With my appointments in Orange County and Long Beach, that made each one-way leg 45-60 miles. By the end of the week, my rental car had 700 miles on it. Each day brought at least 4 to 5 hours in the car, meaning I spent roughly a full day commuting on the trip.
I'm told Ohioans are obsessed by weather. It's equally clear that Southern Californians are obsessed by traffic. They're constantly following traffic reports and changing plans based on those. There even are arguments about such new apps as Waze that detour motorists to less congested routes and may or may not hurt property values in areas such as Beverly Hills that are seeing much more traffic than normal.
I had to adjust my own travel plans when President Obama flew into LAX, and the highways on my intended route were closed. I did what anyone in from Ohio would do—spent time at the beach until after the motorcades were past.
All of this added travel time wasn't unexpected. I planned for it and was late to only one visit, and that by less than 15 minutes. But as I write this, I am glad I won't have to worry about how long it will take to get home tonight.
Meyer is executive editor of Rubber & Plastics News. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @bmeyerRPN.