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02/02/2003

It's a Gas, Gas, Gas

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I don't want to be that obnoxious guy who constantly rub in how much better I've got it than you've got it. But here I go anyway. Nyah, nyah, nyah, I get to work from home. Working from home is like the coolest thing going. I didn't think I'd like it but I really do. There are a ton of benefits - one of which is the topic of this entry.

It's the driving. I just don't have to drive anymore. It's wonderful. The words "daily commute" mean nothing to me anymore. Ha-ha! I laugh at the concept of "daily commute". Seriously, I had some pretty nasty commutes in my life. Not just in length but also through some really congested parts of New Jersey. There was a period in my life that I continually moved further and further away from my work. A combination of changing jobs and moving from house to house took my daily commute (what?) from a four mile one way trip to eventually be a 65 mile one way trip. For a good three years of that period the commute included the horrible interchange of Interstate 78 and the Garden State Parkway.

For the last year and a half, I'd been driving about 30 miles each way. And since I drive one of the left-hating Ford SUVs that suck up the gas, I'd been pulling up to the gas pump pretty often. Now.... I don't. I go months without getting gas. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration but I don't go very often. Which is a good thing by the way. If I haven't made that clear yet. It's a huge money saver. The other good thing about the no gas thing is that New Jersey is one of only two states in the nation that don't allow people to pump their own gas. Which infuriates me to no end. I have to sit and wait for the goober to come out of his little hideaway to get gas in my truck. Part of the annoyance of the "no self serve" thing is that the gas companies tease me. See, they don't manufacture different gas pumps for New Jersey and whatever that other state is (Oregon, I think). All the gas stations in New Jersey have pumps that invite me, lure me, tempt me to slip my strong straight card into the tight slot. Ahem. Excuse me. But New Jersey law forbids me from doing that. I have to watch another man slip my card in the slot. I'm so jealous. Mobil has a program called SpeedPass that gives you a little wand to attach to your keys. After you fill up with your Mobil gasoline, you wave the wand next to the pump and your credit card gets charged. No fuss, no muss. The really annoying thing is when the annoying Mobil telemarketing people call me (during dinner) to annoyingly get me to try SpeedPass. Don't their annoying computers tell them that anyone with the area code that they just dialed can't use their annoyingly tempting SpeedPass?

The last cool thing is that I don't ever set an alarm clock any more. I used to get up at 6:00 AM every morning to get in the shower before the kids wake up. Now I just don't care. Working at home gives me two shower options now. Either shower after the kids are out the door or frankly, just don't shower at all. I mean, it's not like I'm going to offend anyone. I certainly don't have to shave every day. I can just make myself presentable enough to look myself in the mirror everyday. And I have such low standards that that really isn't a problem.

And yet it turns out that I work more hours now than when I did when I went to a real building every day. I get into work early because I never left it from the night before. I don't lose and hour and a half each day in driving. And my refrigerator is right there in the house. I don't waste time making a lunch in the morning or driving to a burger joint during lunchtime traffic. So basically, nyah, nyah, nyah.