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The Geography of Late Slips

Alex Hastings, Design Editor/Coffehouse Promoter

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For a large portion of the student body, something as simple as the drive to and from school can be the most stressful and longest part of daily life. If you leave at the wrong time or there’s an accident, it can transform your ride from a slight inconvenience to a living nightmare. Whether you drive yet or not, it’s hard not to pity the drivers go to extremes when it comes to reaching the river campus.

Andersen Leake (19’) lives in St. Augustine, around an hour drive in ideal conditions. It takes either the 10 alarms she sets the night before or the shove of her mom to wake her up in the morning.

Its 6:30 am, around the time when Leake “miserably” wakes up (or is woken up), and there’s no time for dawdling. In order to beat the clog of i95, she hits the ground running and often completes some morning routines on the go. Doing her makeup, eating her breakfast, putting on school clothes, all in a cramped car in stop-and-go-traffic.

She’s got nearly an hour on the road, so to pass the time she’ll do homework, study, or, at best, “keep pj’s on and just sleep on the way”. Once she leaves, she’s past the point of no return; If she forgets anything, she’ll rely on the help of a friend still at home getting ready, or close enough to turn back and have time to spare.

Sometimes even leaving around 6:40 isn’t enough, so Mrs. Leake will notify the deans to avoid any demerits. Despite there being no punishment, the commute a huge burden on the whole Leake family. Especially with it being so unpredictable. “A lot of times there will be traffic from wrecks. One time it took an entire three hours to get to school”, Leake recalls. Mainly because people speed, swerve, and cut others off, she reasons, but also because “everyone is so bad when its raining”. Apparently, Jacksonville’s ability to drive dissolves in water.

All this considered, the Leake family went to great lengths to make their commute easier. After 9th grade, they bought a condo within 10 minutes of the school. Leake uses the extra time to sleep in or get breakfast with friends, a privilege she doesn’t take for granted. And just a few door down in the condominiums, Maddie Wilson (‘19) shares a similar story.

Like Andersen, Wilson and her family spend weekdays at their condo, and return to their home in St. Augustine on weekends. Her commute is shortened by almost 40 minutes, leaving Wilson with spare time to sleep in, do homework, or eat breakfast. Evidently, some Bolles families go to extremes to avoid extreme commutes.

“Debra Crosby is really loud when she yells at us to get up in the morning”. From about the same distance as St. Augustine, but in the complete opposite direction, Julian and Jaxon Crosby wake up at 6:15 every morning in Yulee. They don’t use alarms, “Debra is a wonderful alarm in herself”, says Julian. They have time to “look good” before they leave at 7, but never eat breakfast or have time to spare. Julian drives the two of them, and doesn’t mind because it’s an important part of being an adult. But of course, he would “much rather sleep”.

Julian says that there will be the occasional accident that slows them down, but the main problem he faces while driving is the other drivers on the road. “The people around me seem like they can’t drive 99% of the time”, Crosby complains.

With a small car, Julian feels that others drive carelessly, recalling times where he’s narrowly avoided accidents because people fail to see him. Living really far away may seem like it would have the worst drives, but Alex and Nick Maniatis (‘18) argue that living close has its ups and downs.

The Maniatis brothers live in Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, around a 20 minute drive without traffic. But the commute isn’t that simple with traffic, it dictates when they leave. A difference of 5 minutes can completely change the amount of traffic on J-Turner Butler Boulevard (JTB). Nick calls it an “essentially predictable problem”, meaning that if they time it right, there ride will be a breeze.

“In the morning the commute allows me to wake up. It’s a reprieve from school; I can talk with Nick and listen to music”, Alex Maniatis explains. There’s a fine line between enjoying the ride and having to deal with the stresses of heavy traffic. If they’re late to leave the house, they suffer through stop-and-go traffic full of drivers with “complete lack of awareness”, and with so many people on the road that there’s too high of a probability to crash.

Students come from a long way to get to school from as far as St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach. Coming from someone who lives only 25 minutes away and still dreads the drive to school, I can’t imagine an hour or more of sitting through heavy traffic just to get to school or go home. Hopefully the future of transportation isn’t as dull as crowded highways of reckless drivers.

 

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