This one is touchy. I don't want to admit to being a control freak. In fact, I really don't think I am one, but there is a strong element of control that I associate with cycling. When I get frustrated on a bus and just want to pull the bell and get off, it's partly because I don't have one iota of control while on public transit. I am at the complete mercy of the bus experience, the driver and my fellow passengers.
Why are bus stops so close together? Who figured that out? Up to 120 people all moving at a snail's pace: stopping, starting and weaving in and out of traffic listening to each other's cell phone conversations or music, smelling each other's aroma, staring dull-eyed out the window praying that the drunk person won't sit too close and launch into some unwanted obnoxious diatribe. Why, why, why?!
Carpooling with a friend is not pleasant either. When I did it, my friend frequently had two or three stops/ errands to do on the way home. And since she was driving I felt I couldn't object. At each stop I would become more and more unhappy. I complained to myself while she jumped out to pick up milk, "When will I ever get home!?" Add to that nausea (carsickness) and you get one dire commute.
I already spend too many hours of the day ignoring my own physical needs: biological, mental and emotional. During my commute I want to think my own thoughts, finally, without the distraction of other people's conversations or electronic devices. And sometimes I might want to cry, laugh, talk to myself, sing, fart or just stop and look at something.
On a bike I can stop and go on a dime, I don't have to hunt for a parking spot. I can go fast or slow. I can get off and walk. I can stop and write something down, make a phone call, put a coat on or take it off without worrying about holding up traffic. On my bike I will meander, daydream, smell people's dinners, travel at a human speed and stop and talk to someone I actually want to talk to.
Yeah, so I'm a cheap, lazy, impatient, anti-social control freak, but I bet I am the happiest commuter on my block.
See you in the streets.