Ah, but could Goodyear Rubber have prevented this accident?

Long Commute

I’ve been receiving e-mails from publicists at Goodyear Canada, likely because of my connection to Transit Toronto. They’ve been running a contest to find the Canadian who has the longest commute to work. I wasn’t going to mention it, but the results are in, and it’s a remarkable story, any way you cut it. Here’s the text of the e-mail:

Would you drive 860 kilometres to and from work?

Goodyear Canada Names Nova Scotia woman
“Canada’s Longest Commuter”

TORONTO, ON - December 10, 2008 - Nova Scotia resident Leslee Nicholson makes a 430 kilometre drive three days a week to her job in Halifax — an epic journey that has earned the Program Development Coordinator the honour of being named Canada’s Longest Commuter by tire maker Goodyear Canada. Leslee spends 27 hours driving and an average of $150 on gas every week.

Goodyear launched the search for Canada’s longest commute in September to raise awareness of the lengths many Canadians travel to and from work and the importance of road safety. A poll commissioned by Goodyear revealed that 25 per cent of commuters say they would accept a pay cut if it meant a shorter commute to work, and 13 per cent confess they’ve wanted to quit their job because of the drive.

“People say life is a highway, and in my case, they’re not kidding,” said Nicholson. “I appreciate the honour from Goodyear, and what they are doing to remind the public to get there safely each and every day.”

Nicholson’s tolerance for the time it takes to get to work is definitely an anomaly — according to Goodyear’s poll, the maximum amount of commuting time picked by most that they would be willing to drive to and from work each day is under 30 minutes. Just 13 per cent say they could hack a 60-90 minute round trip; less than one tenth of Nicholson’s trip.

“While most Canadians don’t have anything like Leslee’s commute, whether you spend two minutes or two hours on the road, we want your first priority to be safety,” said Ian McIntosh of Goodyear Canada. “At Goodyear, our part of the safety equation is to make the best tires even better, and it’s a vision we have embraced since we got into the business 98 years ago.”

Being named the winner of Goodyear’s search for Canada’s Longest Commuter does have its perks: in addition to bragging rights, Nicholson will be awarded $5,000 worth of prizes that pamper both car and driver, including new Goodyear tires, gas money and a range of maintenance services and products.

Goodyear’s “Longest Commute” Contest kicked off September 16, 2008 and ran through November 30, 2008. The criterion for winning was furthest distance from residence direct to workplace by personal vehicle. Commute distance was measured in kilometres and validated as the most direct route from home address to place of work address. The work and home address both had to be within Canada.

Ye-ouch! A quick calculation tells me that this woman is spending 27 hours on the road to work 24 hours on the job. Now, I don’t have the resources to call this woman up and talk to her, but she would seem to be an ideal interview candidate for a show like As it Happens. And, if so, I would expect that they’d ask the following questions:

  1. What the heck is it that you do?
  2. How much does your job pay that it makes this commute worthwhile?
  3. Has your employer ever once thought about buying you a broadband connection so that you can lop off one of those days at home?
  4. Why don’t you just move?

There’s got to be good answers for these questions, that’s for sure. At least, having driven up Nova Scotia, I know that she can take solace in some wonderful scenery en route — except that much of that scenery would be lost in the dark.

But then, I do know somebody else who has an even nastier commute. I won’t name names, here, but this individual worked in a Midwestern American city, only to have his job up-sticks and move 700 kilometres to the north and west. Rather than accept a pink slip, he moved with his job, leaving his wife and daughter behind where they worked and went to school, and living in a bachelor’s apartment five days out of the week.

Now that’s a move I could not contemplate doing.

Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?!

I am really, really, really, really hoping that this is a hoax, but sadly I don’t think so. The fact of the matter is, there are stupid people around, and some of them do find themselves in positions of authority. Even those who see the Linux operating system as a threat to children’s love of the capitalist system. Read on:

This blog is momentarily interrupted to bring you a snippet of recently received email.

“…observed one of my students with a group of other children gathered around his laptop. Upon looking at his computer, I saw he was giving a demonstration of some sort. The student was showing the ability of the laptop and handing out Linux disks. After confiscating the disks I called a confrence with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization. Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows. Mr. Starks, I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting linux on these machines is holding our kids back.

“This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all. I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them…”

Karen xxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxx Middle School

Let me say that, if this is true, I believe that this teacher is insane.

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