Friday, July 17, 2015
Distances to services
Wednesday my lovely wife and I drove 120 miles to the dentist. Actually, she saw two different dentists on the same day. The morning started with a root canal. She had a couple of smoothies for lunch and then went back for an extraction. Her normal dentist is only 20 or so miles away, but he wouldn't or couldn't do the work. So it was off to the state capital to get services.
Yeah, it's a pain to have to travel to get things done. City people brag to me how every service that they need is in their city. That may be true, but often it takes them as long to get to services as it does me. While in the same city, two places in New York may be far away in time.
Can you drive there? If you can, you have all the joys of driving in a big city. Which is to say, none at all. How about public transportation? Rarely does public transportation go exactly from where you are to where you need to be. If you have to change lines, go from subway to bus, or grab a cab, it can take a long time. If you miss a connection you are doomed.
My son-in-law lives on the outskirts of Boston. He has access to a number of public transportation options. Recently he bought a car for commuting into Boston for work. In spite of the killer commuter traffic, he shaves off two hours of travel time every day. That's a lot more time to spend with the family.
For many things there are no time savings for accessing services. The big exception is emergency medical care. Out in the country it can take forever. The volunteer EMS squad has to mobilize at the base, travel miles of country roads to your house, then miles to the nearest rural hospital. Anything serious and you are then hauled another 100 miles in a bouncing ambulance or flown in a helicopter.
In a city professionals are on-duty, know the streets well, and have lights and sirens to move traffic along. Odds are they can get you to a decent hospital in time for it to make a difference. Time is everything in emergency services. In the country we stand a higher chance of dying before getting help.
On the other hand, for me, living in the city would be a slow daily death. One makes choices.