Commuted

The guy who commutes 372 miles daily from Mariposa to San Jose and back was one of those “sheesh, what a nut!” stories that turn up as the final stories on news broadcasts. Of course I should have known better that these kinds of stories are merely the harbinger of things to come. The phrase “extreme commuter” will be coined in T minus 10, 9, 8, 7…

At least 65% of the 1,700 members of the San Francisco fire department live outside the city limits, and some dwell as far away as Los Angeles and San Clemente, spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

Five of them give out-of-state home addresses, including one in Maryland, and others list local addresses or post office boxes but live elsewhere.

Capt. Michael Whooley, 47, said he would prefer to stay in San Francisco but couldn’t persuade his wife to trade in their 4,200-square-foot house in Apple Valley, Minn. — bought in 2003 for $350,000 — for a “shack” in California.

Whooley said he wouldn’t recommend his schedule for most people, given the strain on his family. “I fall asleep on the plane in Minnesota and wake up in San Francisco,” he said. “There’s definitely a disconnect on both ends.”

And in a colossal case of “WELL DUH,” the LA Times discovers…

That’s typical of sleepover commuters, University of West Florida sociologist Ray Oldenburg said, and many of them are getting more stress than they bargained for.

“It’s disruptive of family life,” he said. “In social science, if you go back far enough, everyone was heralding the infinite adaptability of the human being. And I never bought that.”

Ugh. I’m ready to shout “live where you work you inconsiderate energy-sink jackass!” at the whole lot of them.

The Times doesn’t ask the real questions though…

  • Is owning a house really worth that hassle (especially if you’re not around to enjoy it and/or dead from stress)?
  • Do wealthy residents who can afford these areas have any right to complain when local services are understaffed?
  • Are they willing to pay the property taxes necessary to fund the service staff to live locally?
  • What about the resources used up to commute this distance? (setting aside the issue of the resources used maintain a large house in an exurb area)

Assuming that these questions even matter when the economy takes a dump in 2007.

Author: Chris Barrus

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