Freeway parking lots can be educational | Reporter notes

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about traffic congestion and rapid transit on the Cross Kirkland Corridor.

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about traffic congestion and rapid transit on the Cross Kirkland Corridor.

Having suffered from the doldrums resulting from mechanical lethargy, I have taken upon myself to remedy the situation.

That is, to provide some ways for people to make use of their time as they sit in the Interstate 405 parking lot.

For a few years I worked for our sister newspaper in Maple Valley/Covington, which was a 22-mile commute. Thankfully, the roads were mostly unclogged, but even then 22 miles is a ways to go there and back every single day. To offset the boredom, I downloaded and played many audio recordings ranging from lectures to podcasts. I recall one time there was an accident on the (single lane) Issaquah-Hobart Road and I spent a whole hour trying to get from the Poo Poo Point parking lot to downtown Issaquah.

Was it pleasant to sit there in the dark? Not really, but I learned a lot about Henry David Thoreau and John Locke listening to a recorded college lecture. My commute is much shorter now and doesn’t really make sense to do it anymore, but if traffic gets slower it’s exactly how I intend to respond.

You may not realize it at the time, but looking back you’ll remember a lot of what you hear driving to and from work, even if you didn’t appreciate the bumper-to-bumper travesty. A while ago, my brother and I took a road trip down to Vancouver to climb Mount St. Helens, and during the three hour or so journey we listened to a Dan Carlin podcast on World War II. I don’t remember much of the drive, but I remember much of what Carlin said about the firebombing of Dresden.

I don’t want to make any recommendations on podcasts and whatnot, because it’s all a matter of preference and taste, but taking advantage of modern technology helped me make use of time that would have otherwise been wasted. Instead of it just being a commute I got a fairly decent education I wouldn’t have had the time to get if I had waited until getting home first.

I’m sure there are plenty of you who already do this, but for those who haven’t, it’s not something you’re going to regret, and unfortunately the reality is that there’s only so much control we have over our external environment (hard as we try). I’ve found that maximizing control over what I can to improve my life is a better use of my energy.

TJ Martinell is a staff writer for the Kirkland Reporter.