[413/441] A familiar route

When I transcribe my journal, I sometimes have old ideas for blog posts which never appeared on the blog, despite what I originally intended.

Well, this idea appeared yesterday after I had written in my journal, “BLOG TOPIC!” on something, yet never posted it. It’s the idea of familiarity of routes.

On February 28 of last year, I went to the department of motor vehicles to get my missing drivers license replaced.  I had lost my wallet on a bike commute on January 11 of that year, so I had been using my passport any time that I needed to use a government-issued photo identification.  I also had to get new credit cards and a new checking/saving account, because I had slips with the account numbers of the latter in said wallet.

It was a nice ride from Evanston to the North Side of Chicago, but was a somewhat lengthy ride (with the wind against me).  Time seemed to drag a little bit en route, and it took about 50 minutes.

After the long wait at the DMV (because who doesn’t wait when they’re there?), I saddled up my bike and returned to Skokie for lunch… Taboun Grill, to be precise!  There are two pieces of interest here: the first is that this schedule may remind my longer-time readers of the Day of Double Irony. (Since I had a lot of new readers in 2014, and the linked post is from 2013, this is a blast from the past!)

The return trip also seemed to go more quickly, excluding the fact that the wind carried me along nicely.  I think this was partially a mental thing! When you go to a place for the first time, there is always some uncertainty in how long it will take, since the landmarks and check-points are not fresh in your mind. And if it’s a route to a familiar place that you have never taken before, it will probably seem longer. A few examples in my life:

In the summer of 1997, my parents went on RAGBRAI, and my siblings and I spent a day or two at the Creighton Retreat Center with some family friends from Fort Dodge who then hosted us over the week back in Fort Dodge.  The drive from there to Fort Dodge was along a very unfamiliar route, so it seemed to take forever to get there.  FURTHERMORE, I badly missed my parents that week, and may have been suffering from a slight cold (yes, during the summer!) so that time seemed to drag on FOR-EV-ER that week… both in transit and in Fort Dodge.  And then, after reuniting with the parents in Des Moines, the return trip seemed to take forever… particularly as we got close to Exit 1 in Iowa… my bladder was ready to explode!

The first time I drove to Kansas City for a Pokemon TCG tournament by myself was in December of 2007. The drive seemed like it took a long time, as a long three hours.  I had a GPS so that I knew where I was going, but the unfamiliarity made it take a longer time in my mind.  On the return trip, I got to use landmarks such as the exit numbers, the “Y”-shaped power line pole in St. Joseph, and the glow-in-the-dark Rock Port sign.

When I later did this drive with others, the time further seemed to contract because I got engaged in conversation.  Chatting with others always makes time go more quickly in car and train and even plane rides.

Another good example: riding my bike to the JCC, Village Market Place, or Jewel on the far south side of Evanston.  They are 5, 3, and 4-ish miles, respectively, from my apartment, but because they have become so ingrained in my routine places for which to ride, the time seems to fly (or at least not drag) toward or from those places.

I now open this to the readers: what examples can you contribute with respect to the perceived passage of time in transportation, or perceived passage of time in general?


Today is the four-hundred and thirteenth day of Mission 441. Twenty-eight days remain.


6 thoughts on “[413/441] A familiar route

  1. Fascinating, Noah – and triggers a thought about time. It is a human construct and can not, therefore. truly be said to exist (that’s one way of looking at it anyway!). We attribute characteristics to something we can neither control nor fully understand. Time loops; it plays games with us; it lengthens and shortens at a capricious whim – and I have never been convinced by its oft-stated linear progression! x


    • Thanks for the insightful comment, Ali! Indeed, I sometimes wonder about linear time progression. It is really funny how, because time is a human (rather than a natural) construct, we still interpret as natural since it is “all we know.”


      • Yes, it is weird, isn’t it? I suspect many people simply don’t think about such matters – and those who do forget that most rules/laws originate from the mind of Man rather than the Creator.


      • Excellent point. I’d love to know what my dog, Jumble, makes of the whole thing for example. He, like most animals, lives entirely in the moment – as far as I can see – and I suspect these so-called lower order creatures actually show a lot more wisdom than we complicated humans!


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