When I think of commuting I am reminded of the time I used to drive from Huntington Beach to West LA and from Huntington Beach down to La Brea Tar Pits. Well, across the street from the tar pits actually. Those were gnarly drives. But I was younger then and didn’t think too much of the drives for quite awhile until it really started to get to be a drag because I was losing a really good chunk of my day sitting on the freeway. More recently, at least in the last 12 years that I’ve worked at the cemetery, I’ve had commutes into Santa Ana-Orange from Huntington Beach and Westminster, neither of which are much of a commute when placed beside the commute I used to have.
The thing about commutes is that I usually think of them as total freeway time. And in the past, for me anyway, they always have been mostly freeway time. The new commute has very little freeway time. Most of the time is spent on surface streets and a stint down my own road, Carbon Canyon. The canyon road reminds me of the highway between Salinas and Monterey, the one that winds past Laguna Seca. I’ve driven that road more times than I could ever count. After all it’s home turf for me and I lived there 29 years. I made a lot of trips down that road in nearly 30 years. Every time I go down Carbon Canyon Road I think of home as in where I grew up. But honestly, this canyon is becoming home to me now in a very short space of time. I like it so much in the canyon that I don’t mind the drive. As commutes go, it ain’t much of a commute and hardly any of it is spend with my foot on the brake inching my way up the freeway.
Sure, the Chino Hills residents use my road as a commuter short cut to their homes just over the county line into San Bernardino County. And yeah, that means that sometimes I do spend some time with my foot on the brake inching along. But it’s not on the freeway. It’s on the canyon road itself which is loaded with stuff to look at. Personally, I’m a little fascinated by the trees that were burned in the 2008 fire. I stare at them and stare at them as I inch along. Most of the canyon has grown back it’s vegetation so it’s not very burned out looking but I try to imagine what it must have looked like and it creeps me out a little. It’s still not much of a commute despite the crawling that sometimes occurs on Carbon Canyon Road. And I’m home in about 30-40 minutes.
Home’s the key word here. I love coming home. I love the canyon and the wildlife. The longer I’m here, the less that the word “home” means Monterey County. I guess I’ve found my place here in Southern California. I never would have thought it would be out at the edge of a once burned out canyon but there ya have it.
Since it’s Monday, it’s time for a Marcus.
That would make a nice avatar. He’s got great arms! Hope you all have a great Monday!