Like most people, I commute to work. Every day, one hour each way, door to door. It used to be that I drove, but now I take public transit. How awful, you say? It must be a nightmare! No, I disagree.
I used to drive to work, traffic, noise, pollution, stupid people doing stupid things in two tons of metal on wheels. Now, yes, I have to slog through the rain and snow and whatever to get to the bus stop, then ride that for 10 minutes (15 in traffic) and then take the subway for another 35, and THEN a 10 minute walk to my office.
What I have come to appreciate is a dedicated block of time, twice a day, to read, listen to music, enjoy a podcast, chat with people, look at the sunrise, hear to birds sing, watch as the trees and flowers bloom in the springtime. Yes, it’s bitter cold sometimes, or it’s so humid and warm that I’m sweating by the time I reach the office, but I’ve learned to deal with all of that. It’s minor and inconsequential to the fact that I am simply happier without the added stress of being on a road every day.
How many times have you watched the sun rise this year? Once? Maybe, if you’re lucky. I’ve seen about fifty. And that’s since January. (No, I’m not really counting.) Every day either rising over the airport seen from the elevated track or over the Potomac River as we cross into the district. Heck, right after daylight savings time I could see it walking to the bus stop. And I do look, every day. I close my book and look around, if only for the 30-45 seconds that I can see the horizon, I take the time.
What astounds me is that nearly every other person on the train ignores it. They are so oblivious and so self-absorbed in their free newspaper, their music, their coffee or their napping that they miss out on something so glorious and brilliant that you are guaranteed to see every day. I don’t need any metaphors about renewal and every day is a new day or I can take on the world or anything like that. It’s just nice to see it. And all in all, that’s not a bad way to start off the day.
A lot of people like to complain about public transit. They don’t see what it really offers them. A relatively safe, convenient way to get to work that offers them fringe benefits that you can’t put a dollar sign on.
Me? I’ll keep taking public transit.