Certainly, I could. I've thought about it a lot, and during the times that I'm stuck on I-76 after a long day (and I know I'm going to have to circle my neighborhood for parking once I finally get back to Center City), the benefits of not having to commute from Philadelphia on a daily basis make moving tempting, to say the least.
But ultimately, I love this city. For some, locale isn't that important. But, I know I need to be based in a place that feels like home, and Philadelphia does that for me. I have family and friends here, and I simply love coming back home to my little trinity on a walk-only street just south of Rittenhouse. Each time I walk up to the front door, I smile. For me, that welcome-home feeling is important. For me, Philadelphia is worth the commute.
Also very important are the musical connections I have here. The freelancing I do is, by and large, Philadelphia-based. Being in Philadelphia allows me to further with my performance career. I think that it's good my students see I'm also an actively performing musician. No matter where I'm living/performing/teaching, the activities I take part in reflect back to KU. The department needs all types in order to create a well-rounded learning environment. Some people need to live in town, for sure, but then it's also important to have faculty with slightly different lifestyles. Each professor will be able to offer students a unique perspective, and that's an essential part of a balanced arts education.
And as far as the time I spend in my car? Sometimes I just enjoy the silence and the time to decompress. On the days I need a distraction, I have plenty of options. I have bluetooth, so I can safely talk to friends and family. Or... I catch up on the news via NPR. I listen to music. I have a collection of podcasts I enjoy. I listen to audio lectures on subjects that I would otherwise not have time to explore. I have language CDs.
Who knows? Maybe the things I learn in the car will create new opportunities or spark ideas for projects. At the very least, it's not wasted time.
Here's to taking part in the race without being a rat.