It was a 35 minute, 28-mile trip, each way, Monday through Friday. And then it was five hours of amusing one's self while the kids learned and grew. I don't mind the five hour down time -- I can log four hours at a coffeeshop with internet without breaking a sweat -- but the drive was exhausting, at least for me. The traffic, the rush, the monotony.
There are people who drive from Conway to Little Rock every day of their working lives. I suppose I'd get used to it if that were my lot. But I've spent way too much time with a .5 mile commute that I do on foot in a leisurely ten minutes. I've gotten attached to it, and correspondingly impatient with any time spent in an idling car or on a lengthy stretch of asphalt.
I've been working my way down to my minimal no-auto commute my whole life, it seems. As a kid, after we moved outside of town when I was in the eighth grade, it took 45 minutes to drive from our house to my high school. We left at 7 in order for me to make it before the 8 am bell. In grad school, I worked less than 10 miles from my apartment, but it took 20 minutes to get there on a good day since there was no way to bypass a lot of stop lights in the strip-mall district.
A few years ago I read a magazine story about how drastically every half hour of commuting time cuts into people's estimations of their quality of life. I love living right next to where I work, and every time I have to get back in the car to do some hard driving, I'm reminded of why.