Coffee Break [30/8/21]

Your mid-morning pick me up.

A traffic jam in Nairobi left motorists stranded overnight. Forcing some people to sleep in their cars with others arriving home just in time to leave for work. These pics are giving me agita.

What was your worst commute, Deadsplinters?



  1. For around ten years I had a 25-mile commute to work, most of it on major highways. Because the highway cut through farmland and had no windbreaks, it often drifted over in snow, pooled with water during rain, and was pretty much a black ice nightmare for a few months each year. The lanes were separated by a steeply angled v-shaped grassy divider. Drivers consistently went 80 mph on the highway, which was fine in clement weather, but really very bad at any other time. If I remember correctly, the worst that I saw was six cars in the grassy center, 6 along the side of the road, and a 2 hour delay because the road was closed. I do not miss that commute.

    • White knuckle driving is not a good way to start the workday. I’m glad you aren’t doing that anymore.

  2. I used to work as a network admin for a worker’s comp clinic that was owned by a married pair of doctors.  Their relationship was dysfunctional as hell, and thus their dealings with the rest of us were likewise.  The husband fancied himself a management genius, but he was constantly fucking around with workflows and procedures just so he could watch us all running around and banging into each other.  I told him more than once that we were not a bunch of lab rats for him to experiment with and he needed to cut it the fuck out.  Every single day for two years I would call a friend of mine who would need to remind me why I shouldn’t set the building on fire the minute I got there.  The drive to/from was only about 30 minutes, but the commute there was an exercise in dread.

    • When the drive is the best part of the day that’s not a good work situation!

      • I was also in charge of billing and AR, and their corporate clients were REALLY bad at paying their bills–mostly because they could afford to make us wait because we weren’t large enough for them to care.  Eventually, as the money got tighter, the owners started shitcanning people who were too expensive.  First went one nurse, then went the marketing manager (who couldn’t market her way out of a paper bag so firing her was a good thing, but they didn’t replace her), then went another nurse.  I knew I was either next or coming up fast, so I bailed.  Within six months they were done.

  3. …there was a time when in theory my commute would have been a short(ish) ride on “the tube” (london’s underground trains) but almost never was…because I’d have needed to get on at a major commuter station where overground trains arrived in london & at that time in the morning so many people would try to that inevitably they’d have to close entrances so the number of people in the station didn’t result in crowds big enough to start pushing people off the platforms onto the tracks from sheer weight of numbers

    …so in practice it was a pretty long walk…not bad on a sunny day…but in miserable weather…well, they call it that for a reason

    …still quicker than trying to get there by bus, though?

    • I agree since I ascribe to the other people are hell school of thought.

    • That year that Better Half lived in London I visited him quite often, more often than a full-time employed person really should have been able to, and how I pulled this off I can’t remember–

      Anyway, he wanted to go somewhere specific and knew its Tube stop. For some reason the Tube line shut down before we could get there and we were transferred to buses to complete our journey. 

      We were about 1/2-mile away. The bus journey took a little over an hour, not including the time waiting for a bus with enough room on it to let us on.

      The next day I bought him a map of London which, when unfolded, was about the size of Big Ben Queen Elizabeth Tower.

      • …it’s a curious thing about london…if you’re prepared to walk a lot of central london is a good deal easier to get around than it would seem if you always take public transport…but some places further out can be a bear to get to

        …for a while I lived in a place that was the regular “about half an hour/forty mins” from the middle of town…until the trains stopped running…when you’d need a bus to get to a bus that would get you to a bus that would go there…which could be an absolute nightmare

      • That’s why you get a mini London A to Z, or you did before smartphones. 

  4. Used to work in a pub called the half moon 
    It was a 12 mile uphill nightmare of a commute in the mornings 
    Late at night when I got to go home it was a 12 mile downhill mad dash….done decidedly not sober…had a couple truly epic crashes there..
    One I still don’t know how I walked away from as I cleared a 6ft fence and eventually came to in someone’s backyard….not actually much worse for wear…other than an unplanned nap.
    The bike was dead tho

    • That’s a fairly long bike commute at the best of times. Glad you survived it.

  5. When I used to work about 25 miles away in tech traffic hell I would get so stressed in traffic.  I finally started leaving super early just to avoid it even if I sat in my office for awhile before I had much to do.  The only good thing that came out of those commutes was listening to new music from the great John in the Morning…

    • I’m glad you had something to make the commute endurable.

  6. In length, not terrible (~23 miles if I recall correctly) but my first newspaper job was at an afternoon paper that once was a prosperous mill city but had become a rotting little city. I didn’t want to move too much closer because it was the opposite direction of my then-girlfriend/now-wife’s job.

    For morning dailies — and that’s nearly all daily papers at this point — reporters usually work 9-5ish or start their shift a bit later if they’re out covering stuff in the evening. For an afternoon daily, with press time at 11 a.m., had to be at my desk at 7 a.m. Even that wouldn’t be terrible, except I had to work split shifts ALL THE TIME. I was told that would happen occasionally; in reality it was at least twice a week. I found myself working 7-11 a.m. and then 7-11 p.m. constantly, and I began to loathe the drive, especially in winter on poorly or unplowed winter roads. I left after about 5 months and couldn’t have been happier to get a job that was far closer to home and didn’t require horrendous hours.

    • Bad commute and bad hours, I can see why you didn’t stay.

      • And they just flatly lied about the number of split shifts required. There was no way to do the job even half-competently without them, and they knew that. I should say I suspected some of it from the jump, but I was antsy to get a job and so I did.

        • @clevernamehere2 Lying about job requirements seems to be a very common practice. When my daughter interviewed for her current job they told her there would be occasional travel. Translation- 25% of the time. She would have accepted the job knowing that but probably wouldn’t have gotten a cat that she had to leave at home by itself so much. 

  7. Road construction and bad weather create bad commutes. None of mine stick out as particularly bad.

  8. They’re all bad. 

    • This right here. Every job should pay for commute time, but especially any job that can be done remotely.

    • mines okay…. i mean…its a 15 minute bike ride along the canal and through the harbour…its a pretty nice way to start/end the day
      the price i pay for that short commute is that im constantly bumping in to co workers outside of working hours….that kinda sucks

  9. I live in the Washington DC area. 

    It’s always bad. 

    • Oof, yeah, there’s no way to make that enjoyable.

    • I don’t think this is true anymore, might have been a blip, but at one point DC had the worst commute times in the country. It had something to do with a bridge on the Beltway or something? Did I hallucinate this? 

      For maximum traffic awesomeness, get on the 405 (I sound like a character on the old SNL “The Californians” recurring sketch) in Orange County and head to LA during the morning rush hour. Five lanes, plus a couple of lanes dedicated to the approaches to the next exit. Gridlock as far as the eye can see.

      • We are usually near the top. Yes, the American Legion Bridge is probably what you are thing of, which is on of the only ways to get over the Potomac. 
        My actual worst commute was the day of Snowmaggeddon, when it took me 7 hours to go the 35 minutes home from my office. 


        • Holy shit @MegMegMcGee 7 hours is almost as bad is the one from the article!

          • It was insane. If I’d left an hour earlier I would have been home in a normal amount of time. People were sleeping in their cars, abandoning their cars on the Beltway. One of my coworkers slept in a Home Depot parking lot. 



        • I have several transplanted-from-the-north friends in DC and they all comment on how it seems like everyone who moves to DC, even if they’re from places where it snows regularly, immediately forgets how to drive in snow. A few flakes start falling and chaos ensues. Schools close, “non-essential personnel” (99.5% of the Federal workforce) are urged to stay home. Native Wisconsinites act like they grew up in the arid Southwest. Coloradans who arrived from the Rockies pretend like they just blew in from Polynesia. It’s a very weird and seemingly kind of DC-specific phenomenon.

          To be fair, in LA they do this with rain. Pacific Northwest natives panic when 1/8″ rain falls on the Santa Monica Freeway. It’s very odd.

          • *to be fair* 
            Yes, it’s true. Maryland drivers think Virginia drivers are the worst and vice versa. 

            I’m from Ohio and consider myself a decent snow driver but I just stay the fuck home here. 

      • I believe it’s been ATL with the worst commutes for some time now. (Or at least for most of the 21st century.) 

    • When I worked on Minority Report – we had to do  a full company move from somewhere in coastal VA  to DC. When we wrapped out of the VA location – there were two busses. One that was to leave an hour after wrap for most of the crew and one to leave two hours later for the rigging crew and any stragglers that had a longer wrap. My department finished in enough time to make the first bus – but when we got on it – there was a very weird angry vibe – like people were trying save seats and/or not let anyone sit next to them – so we got off and decided to wait for the later bus. 
      Long story short – our bus left two and half hours after the first one – we stopped for beer and booze once – fireworks once – had to stop to drop off someone at the hospital because they fell and cut their knee open at the fireworks stop – and still ended up arriving at the hotel 10 min behind the other bus. The first bus sat in traffic for like four hours – those people had no booze and were so livid that none of that none of them would speak to us when we arrived. Of course – I think we were all drunk – but it was a lot of fun. 
      My point – DC traffic is bonkers. 

  10. My longest commute was 13 miles, but suburban stop lights meant this was 30 on a good day, close to an hour on a bad. Winter meant snow and ice, shitty roads and people who forgot how to drive. 
    Then there was the year (maybe ten years ago) we got 12 inches of rain overnight and everything was flooded but they stupidly didn’t close the office until 10am, so everyone who had bothered to show up now had to reverse course through the deluge. I don’t remember how long that took, I just remember it being extremely fucking stressful and the start of my anxiety around rain.

    • I’d rather drive in snow than heavy rain. Ice is never good. 

      • It was my first time with FLOOD type rain. I’d always heard you weren’t supposed to drive thru yadda yadda, but it was so early in the morning it was still dark. You couldn’t see water sometimes until you were in it. So I did a lot of praying to [SOMEONE, ANYONE, I AM NOT PICKY] and hyperventilating. There were cars stalled everywhere. One overpass I drive over had water up to the bottom of it. 

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