Traffic is our friend?
March 4, 2014 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Afternoon commute: Headed out of town, you drive WITH traffic -- and it sux. But if you were driving toward town, from the burbs, you'd be driving AGAINST traffic. And that's a breeze. See the paradox?

Going with traffic is bad, going against traffic is good.
I once heard a perfect phrase that captured this. We were in an office in a Detroit suburb, arranging our trip downtown to the auto show, and deciding when to go.
Best bet: Go down at 5, when all the traffic is outbound. We'll be AGAINST traffic, which is best -- but it doesn't sound best.
Somebody said, 'Let's go down at 5, when traffic's [--------].
It was poetry. Fill in the blank, O Hive.
posted by LonnieK to Grab Bag (20 answers total)
reverse commuting
posted by pravit at 5:05 PM on March 4, 2014 [10 favorites]

... headed towards us? Not very poetic, but sounds more positive.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 5:08 PM on March 4, 2014

posted by asperity at 5:10 PM on March 4, 2014

"Let's go downtown at 5 during the reverse commute." Not poetry, but the way I've always heard it.
posted by sfkiddo at 5:12 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I call this the "counter-commute"
posted by milqman at 5:12 PM on March 4, 2014

I have a commute like this, and I explain the short duration by telling everyone that "I head outbound during the inbound rush."
posted by bfranklin at 5:17 PM on March 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Flowing away.
posted by Violet Femme at 5:35 PM on March 4, 2014

I think (?) you are thinking of it as "swimming upstream," as in fighting all of the salmon going the other way and getting clogged in their exuberant matingness and therefore getting nowhere fast or at all.

The better way to conceptualize it is that 90% of the salmon are going north in one stream and you're going south in another stream, mostly by yourself. It's still "against" traffic, in that you are the smaller proportion, but you are in a different channel, so you aren't against anything, physically.

Apologies if I misunderstood some deep philosophical underpinning of this ask.
posted by Punctual at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2014

"When traffic's going the other way." Not poetry, but certainly what I'd say.
posted by redfoxtail at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

in our favor ?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:56 PM on March 4, 2014

Counter flow.
posted by Mitheral at 6:15 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by JoeZydeco at 6:21 PM on March 4, 2014

"Against traffic," "reverse commute," or "the right direction for traffic" (as opposed to "the wrong direction").

Source: LA resident who crosses the 405 daily
posted by samthemander at 6:39 PM on March 4, 2014

Thanks to all! These are great.
Punctual has the concept exactly -- but no, there's no deeper philosophical underpinning. I'm just looking for a turn of phrase.
I posted this question a year or 2 ago and the offerings were OK, but not as good as these. "Traffic's in our favor' is close; I think the best is my own title, 'Traffic's our friend.'
But what I heard that day in Detroit was even more poetic. Takeaway: Write stuff down.
Seriously: thx all.
posted by LonnieK at 7:11 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

You seem to be missing the point that roadways are divided into separate sides that flow independently in opposite directions.
posted by Dansaman at 9:22 PM on March 4, 2014

I don't see the paradox. You're not with traffic or against traffic. You're with traffic or without traffic.

Anyway, is 'do you want to see traffic, or be traffic?' the sort of thing you're looking for?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:56 AM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

By poetry do you mean the term rhymed with 5? Eg "...when traffic's not live"?

Yes, I know 'poetry' is not synonymous with 'rhyming', am just throwing it out there.
posted by freya_lamb at 5:39 AM on March 5, 2014

Let's zig while they're zagging.
posted by whuppy at 10:25 AM on March 5, 2014

Missing the point that roads run in 2 separate directions? No, that's THE point. And usually one of those directions is a lot more crowded than the other. E.g., at 8am inbound lanes are more crowded than outbound, and vice versa at 5pm.
The paradox is that the phrases 'with traffic' and 'against traffic' -- which are common -- have connotations that don't match the reality. Going against traffic doesn't sound good, but it is good. As explained.
No, not rhyme. Just a bit colorful.
I like zig/zag and be/see. Both right on point. But the specific phrase I seek expressed only the positive: If we leave at 5 [traffic's our friend].
Thx all!
posted by LonnieK at 11:06 AM on March 5, 2014

posted by at at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2014

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