I'm feeling the national energy shortage in my legs and arms, and especially my feet and ankles.
Recently, in response to the rising cost of gasoline and the earnest imprecations of our Commander in Chief, I've begun taking the rapid transit system to and from work at least a couple of days a week. I figure if I can skip my car two days out of five I can save 40% of my personal energy consumption and make the petroleum available for those who need it more, like people on the Gulf coast who have to drive 50 miles to, well, fill up their tanks.
It works pretty well. I'm part of a fortunate minority in our county who live and work within an easy walk of the rail system. It takes only 15 minutes to get to the train, about 15 minutes on the train, and another 10 or 15 minutes on the people mover and on foot to reach my office in downtown Miami. It takes the same 45 minutes, or longer, if I drive.
On the upside, there is no lingering in bumper-to-bumper traffic, waiting for drawbridges, or narrowly avoiding collisions along the way. However, I do miss the luxuries of listening to the morning news on NPR while sipping coffee or tea as I wake up. Standing and hanging onto a metal stanchion (no seats available during the morning commute) is simply not the same. I'm thinking of getting one of those mini-radios you can plug into your ears to cover the NPR fix, but the coffee will just have to wait till I get to work--no food or beverages allowed on the train.
Financially, the two days of public transport cost me six dollars. Even if I save only a third of the gas I would use otherwise, which would be about twelve dollars worth (4 gallons), I still come out ahead. And that's without factoring in the wear and tear on the car, which would be another four or five dollars a day.
Then again, I wonder how much faster my shoes will wear out?