Driving back and forth to work is getting longer and lonelier, according to a government report.Now that's a subject about which I can comment with the authority of personal experience. It is, in fact, the main reason that I am now a suburban resident.

When I first went to work on a daily basis here in the county seat I lived 20 miles one way, out in the boondocks.

This was in wartime, when gasoline was rationed and, for me, too scarce to allow daily commutes. So I joined a car pool. That meant, of course, that I did not travel alone.

There were four of us. John was the driver. He worked at the Outer Station for the railroad. Another was Leslie, a tombstone cutter on North Sixth Street.

The third worked for Met-Ed. Then there was me.

I worked an odd shift that put me on duty on a Saturday every two weeks. My gas ration let me make that trip on my own. Alone, of course.

In due time, the war ended, and my solo daily commutes began.

My route covered the Old Oley Turnpike from the Oley churches to St. Lawrence. That's where boredom set in. There was one junction at which I met the same fellow commuter every morning. Otherwise, I had the road to myself.

I'd arrive at the Jacksonwald Hotel and I'd muse to myself, "Gee, am I here already?"

I had no idea whatever about how much time had elapsed and I could only speculate I had met nobody because if I had, I would have remembered it.

Given the volume of modern traffic, I don't suppose such an experience is likely nowadays, but I do know all about commuting over long distances - your mind sort of shifts out of gear.

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