Documenting Extreme Commutes
There are two types of commuters: Those of us who get to work, sigh, and think that, well, somebody else probably had it worse; and those of us who get to work, sigh, and suspect that no one else could possibly have had it any worse.
If you're in the latter category, you're probably an extreme commuter, a person who travels a very long distance -- perhaps from central Virginia, West Virginia, southern Pennsylvania or the Eastern Shore -- for the privilege of working with the rest of us here in the Washington area. (With congestion worsening, an extreme commute isn't as far away as it used to be.)
Andrea Bloom, a graduate student at American University, is making a documentary film about your commute. Right now, she's looking to recruit some of you extremists to be in the film, which is part of a thesis.
"I am looking for anyone who has a particularly long and hairy commute that they believe affects their quality of life in a significant way," she says. "I'm also looking for people that have had to change their lifestyle/residence/job because of the commute, or have had to make major life changes in general (taking the train instead of driving, putting their kids in a different day care, setting aside 'work from home days' to see the spouse, etc."
Extreme commuting fascinates journalists and researchers. It's not something most of us really understand, either in terms of the impact on health, work and home life or why people take on this burden or why they continue to do it. I've seen several good stories on this in the past year or so, including: Eric Weiss's story on The Post on the health impacts of commuting, There and Back Again by Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker and Driven to Extremes by Michael Leahy in The Post's Sunday Magazine.
With more and more Americans falling into this commuter category, we need to know more. If you're interested in participating in Bloom's project, she invites you to send an e-mail to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, it's a film project, so she's looking for people who are up for being interviewed on camera.
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