April 10, 2014

Commuter Troubles

I skipped yesterday's blog, cashing in one of those "day of rest" chips I awarded myself when I learned that I had miscounted the days of Lent and could have been taking Sundays off all along.

It seemed like a good day to rest. Yesterday ended with me Facebook-messaging Sam to come upstairs and turn off the bedroom light so I could go to sleep, because I wasn't sure I could get myself out of bed and complete this simple task. 

It started with the bus.

I've worked in downtown Minneapolis and lived in suburbia for 5 years. It's a 30-60 minute drive, depending on traffic. I do not like to think about how much of my life has been spent commuting.*

I tend to enjoy driving and Minnesota drivers aren't too horrible (until we get to a 4-way stop sign: "No, really, you go first!"), but I have no interest in the risks, costs, or hassles of driving downtown every day. This is my ride:

Or, depending on my route, I might get the little guy:

My bus has reclining seats, WiFi, and a strictly enforced "quiet zone" which lasts most of the trip. I usually have a 2-seat row to myself. The driver dims the lights so we can sleep in the mornings. In the afternoon, I surf Facebook or read novels on my iPad. It's basically a living room on wheels.

In my years of commuting, there have only been a few times when I have cursed my bus.

The first was the morning when I woke up from a sound sleep and realized that I was the only passenger on the bus and none of my surroundings look familiar. I had slept through my stop - and all the others. It was a long walk to my office. In the rain. While uncomfortably pregnant.

Another day, I gratefully arrived in the transit station at the end of a long workday. I stepped into the garage, looking for my car, and did not see it. A moment later, I realized that I had driven downtown that morning and my car was in a parking ramp 20 miles away. As Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh!"

Yesterday, I had another commuter mishap. I walked out of the station as the bus was pulling away. I ran after, waving and trying to catch the driver's attention as he pulled away. Do not try to run after buses if you are a clumsy person wearing cute shoes. A moment later, I was on the pavement, my tights ripped, my knees bleeding, my hand sore, my plans of getting to work on time thwarted. Then, the driver stopped the bus. I was glad I couldn't see the faces of the other commuters through the tinted windows. Hopefully they were all too busy playing Candy Crush to notice me sprawled out and sobbing like a child who had fallen off a bike.

I drove home for a change of clothes, first aid from Sam, and a generous dose of empathy from Evie and Felix. They've been there. "You need a Band-Aid!" Felix offered helpfully.

A day later, I'm healing pretty well.

Yes, my slippers have wine glasses on them.

I'm limping, but I can walk. My left hand is still too swollen to wear my wedding ring or my favorite bracelet, but I can type. I am already feeling a lot better than yesterday. I may even be able to turn off my own bedroom light.

*After subtracting for weekends, holidays, vacation, and the occasional work-from-home day, I came up with 1500 hours, or just over 2 months that I have spent commuting to and from my current job.

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