I usually try to avoid bitching about work in this blog, but my level of frustration with my daily commute is currently at Orange, is creeping towards Red, and may be contributing to the stomachache that’s currently preventing me from enjoying dinner. So in the interest of my mental and physical health, I’m venting and trying to get some of this irritation out of my system.

A recap of the situation for those of you who haven’t had to suffer through my moaning on this topic before: The office that I work at is in Northfield, MN, about 50 miles away from my apartment in Uptown Minneapolis. Because I move in the opposite direction as the bulk of rush-hour traffic, it only takes me about an hour to get to and from work. MTCO doesn’t reach all the way out to Northfield, and I don’t own a car, so I am forced to bum rides off of various coworkers who live in my part of town.

I realize that lots of people travel much further than this every day, but those people are completely insane. One hour is not the longest commute I’ve ever had in terms of door-to-door time, but the endless ocean of car lots and empty farmland that we pass on the way down makes that one hour feel like four. I’ve developed a theory that if you could measure how much of your creative energy gets sapped out of you by your commute before you even step inside the office, distance would be a bigger factor than time.

One surprising thing about carpooling is how much less private it is than public transit. If there’s anything more confining than being trapped in a packed sardine can of a bus, it’s being lashed to the seat of a car. On a bus or train, everyone (with the exception, of course, of each bus’s Designated Crazy Person) has a vested interest in maintaining their psychic space, and so people listen to their own iPods and try not to bother each other. In the car, it’s rude to tune out your carpool-mates by putting your headphones on, and when you try to stick your nose into a book, they want to talk to you about what you’re reading. What should be private time becomes public time, and public time gets awfully tiresome.

Carpooling also involves a lot of careful negotiation of schedules and gas tanks. As the member of the ‘pool who doesn’t pull his own weight by driving, I have even less say than the others when it comes to coming and going. As a result, I’ve lost power over my entire daily schedule. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t make any plans for weeknight evenings, because I simply have no idea of when I’m going to be home. When five out seven days of my week are dominated not by work, but by simply getting to and from work, there is something seriously wrong with my life.

If you’ve read this far, you’re far too patient. At any rate, if you know of any shops that are looking for a game designer and are located in a major city — and I mean in a city, not in some exurban Sibera that’s vaguely related to a city — feel free to mention me to them. I swear I’m not usually this whiny.