Commuting blows

Sheffield Travel Blog

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After literally minutes of contemplation, regret and trepidation, I've finally decided to get my fat arse out of bed and go to work. It seems that the sound of the alarm clock blasting me out of sleep was only seconds ago, but a quick glance at the LCD screen reveals that it's been almost ten minutes. I stumble out of the warmth of bed into a miserable, dark, freezing cold morning and retrieve my clothes from the other side of the room. The timer on the central heating doesn't work, so it's even colder than usual.

Still half asleep, I step outside to find my car covered in a strangely beautiful crystalline structure, which the guide book tells me is called "ice",  and is caused by minute water droplets freezing on the surface of the vehicle. I scrape this off using a special tool, then drive to my own house. The steering wheel is almost too cold to touch.

After a brief and unhappy shower, I eat a meagre breakfast consisting of a local speciality, Kelloggs Fruit 'n' Fibre drenched in cow's milk, then head back into the car to make my way to work.

The traffic jam starts at the end of my street, where I notice a queue of schoolkid-laden 4x4s stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction. Ensuring that the car's air intake is turned off, I sit for several minutes toying with the clutch, moving inch by inch, and watching the clouds of poisonous gas billow around me. By the time I reach Waitrose, my left knee is sore from constant clutch action.

There is a brief respite in the traffic as I head illegally through the city centre, but it's back to normal again once I reach Arundel Gate. The bus drivers are, as usual, cunts. Eventually it's onto the endless cycle of misery that is the new inner ring road, before hitting the most exciting choice of the journey. Do I take Carlisle Street, braving the appalling suspension-breaking potholed surface and heavy industrial traffic, or do I attempt to weave and race with all the other frustrated commuters on Saville Street and Brightside Lane? I opt for Saville Street, and am rewarded by some knobcheese in a BMW undertaking me, causing me to hit the brakes and subsequently get stuck at a red light while he tears off into the distance.

My blood pressure has almost returned to its normal level by the time I reach the M1, where I discover, to my joy, that there has not been an accident today, and traffic is actually moving. Within minutes, however, I find my passage blocked by two HGVs vying for position in the two inner lanes, and a small queue of cars in the fast lane headed by a pensioner who is oblivious to the hold up he is causing behind him. A white van undertakes and forces its way back into the fast lane ahead of the car in front, then brakes hard, almost causing an accident.

When the road finally clears, I put the pedal to the metal and hit 100mph for about six minutes before I swing off at junction 37. Dodworth Road in Barnsley is completely jammed, as always, and traffic is queuing all the way back across the motorway roundabout. After sitting in this jam for ten minutes, some twat in a Mercedes flies past in the empty right-hand lane and tries to cut in front of me. I hit the accelerator and charge up to the bumper of the car in front before slamming on the brakes, hitting the horn and flipping two fingers at the queue jumper. Scowling, he moves on a few metres and cuts in front of someone else.

There's nowhere to park at work, so I head for the nearest side street where it's free to park. Residents scowl at me as I get out of the car, identifying me by my suit as an outsider who is taking up their vital road space. It starts to rain, and I'm soaked by the time I arrive at work, late, ten minutes later. The boss looks at me disapprovingly as I walk in.

I spend eight hours staring at a cheap Apple Mac, and come away with a headache and no thanks. The next hour is spent repeating the above in reverse, except this time it's dark and the route is slightly different.
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photo by: moshers_moll