This may surprise anyone who really knows me, since ordinarily I'm not at all a fan of either automobiles or freeways, but I'm sort of digging my current commute.
I have a contract gig in Tualatin, and I have to drive most of it on I-205 (side-swiping I-5 for only a few feet, thank the godz). Yes 'Ugh!' is exactly what I thought too, when I was told by the agency that I was hired. Thirty-minute drive each way, most of it freeway, the makings of a commuter nightmare that I had been fortunate to avoid for fourteen years prior to this exciting economy we're having.
But guess what? I'm pretty okay with it. For now. Sometimes misfortune has a way of offering a positive facet, and in this case it's my (otherwise awful) schedule. I work swing, 3pm to 1:30am. Sucky Suck and The Suckettes, yes? Yet if you have to drive on the freeway, believe me, this is the kindest brand of commute. Two reasons:
Traffic tends to be lighter, hence fewer incidences of rage and less need for split-second stunt-driving to take a lane you need because the mouth-breather coming up behind thinks a turn signal means “See this lane over here? I would just love it if you would insert yourself into it so I can take a tour of a part of town I've never seen since you've locked me into an exit-only. Kisses!”.
Raison numéro deux is that I get to drive home at night, and I love driving at night. I always have. Some of my favorite experiences in a car have been after sundown, and often the car was actually moving. Tune to my preferred radio station (KINK.fm, if you're curious) and I am a very happy driver; last night they played "Somewhere Down The Crazy River" by Robbie Robertson and I took an extra lap around the neighborhood before parking at home so I could listen to it.
A city has a separate identity at night, it's like seeing your neighbor in a slinky black number rather than the sweats and flip-flops she wears to water the lawn. A lot sexy, a bit dangerous. Portland is beautiful in the daylight, and it's intriguing in the night-time. And people want to be out in it. Go downtown, past the pubs. A few patrons are inside, but many prefer the sidewalk. I love walking downtown at night, but when I have to drive I avoid the downtown area when possible (there should be no such thing as a car downtown, but that's me whittling a soapbox for another time) and seek other streets and avenues. I even seem to have more interesting conversations in the car after sunset. I mean besides howling at the ninja bike idiots.
As to my drive to work in the daylight, that's not bad at all so far either, because have you driven I-205 South? Every freeway in the world should have such green and gorgeous scenery. When you can afford to pry an eye off of the automotive challenges surging around you, it's a very welcome sight. For about a second at a time, but it's there for you.
Of course the orange cone mafia is closing the Tualatin-Sherwood exit (289) soon.
Excuse me, gotta get on Google Maps. See ya.
(Yeah, you knew I was gonna add this, right?)