Thursday, August 19, 2010

A commuter's life .

" A commuter: someone who travels a long distance every day between work and home, especially by train"

I wish I had the option of walking or cycling to work but, unfortunately, I don't. My two daily journeys last about 45 minutes . That's when I am lucky; sometimes it is more like two hours ! Like today. I got stuck (1) in a tunnel because of a problem with the catenary ( the overhead power lines). I got to work late and stressed out (2) .Can't wait for the journey home ! In these situations I always make a complaint (3) I may only be able to claim for the price of a single fare (4)but it is the principle that counts !.Because most commuters are travelling at the same time of day , commuting causes a morning and evening "rush hour” (5) with congestion (6) on roads and public transport systems. This makes the cost of commuting in petrol and pollution high and can also cause health problems.
According to an article in Business Week commuting is associated with “ raised blood pressure (7), musculoskeletal disorders ,increased hostility , lateness (8) , absenteeism (9) and adverse effects on cognite performace” in other words...extreme stress. I feel lucky to be alive !Stress expert Dr.David Lewis conducted a study that says that a commuter can experience greater stress than fighter pilots going into battle. Dr Lewis said” the difference is that pilots have things they can do to combat the stress that is being triggered (10) by the event but commuters, particularly on a train , cannot do anything about it at all. Dr Lewis has identified a syndrome he calls “commuter amnesia” where people forget large parts of their journey because of stress.

Music by the Beatles. "I am only sleeping ".

The average journey is between 45-60 minutes , so people switch off their minds and turn into zombies for 90 minutes a day. According to this study commuting makes people feel “frustrated, anxious and despondent (11)“ and most consider their journey to work as an ordeal (12) ,some describe it as a nightmare. I certainly agree !!
But how can workers avoid the stress of commuting ?Travelling to work outside peak hours (13) , carpooling (14) or working from home are some alternatives but if this is not possible Dr Lewis suggests a brisk (15) walk between the end of the journey and arriving at the office to “burn up (16) the hormones released and build up (17) the cardiovascular system “.


How do you get to work? Is it really as stressful as Dr Lewis' study suggests ?Does your journey to and from work send your blood pressure through the roof ? How do you avoid the stress of commuting ? Tell us your story !

Vocabulary building
1- get stuck: unable to move (atascado)
2-stressed out: feel very nervous and worried.(estresado)
3-make a complaint: formally say that something is wrong or not satisfactory
4-fare:the money that you pay for a journey on a vehicle such as a bus or train
5-rush hour : the busy part of the day when people are travelling to work or home .
6- congestion:roads and towns where there is too much traffic
7-raised blood pressure: (tensión alta)
8- lateness:(happening or arriving) after the planned, expected, usual or necessary time
9-absenteeism: not being at school or work when you should be
10-trigger: to cause something bad to start
11-despondent:unhappy and with no hope or enthusiasm
12-ordeal:a very unpleasant and painful or difficult experience
13 peak hours: when most people are using or doing something (hora punta)
14-carpooling :a group of people who travel together, especially to work or school, usually in a different member's car each day
15-brisk: quick,energetic and active.
16-burn up :to use energy by doing a lot of physical exercise
17-build up: increase