Wednesday, September 10, 2008


At first I considered this morning's commute a failure. But seven hours and fifteen minutes later I realized it's a victory. Because I've been using this route since August 5—admittedly not five days a week since joining a carpool and buying my own automobile two weeks ago—and only had a problem today. By problem I mean a catastrophic, arriving-to-work-late problem, as opposed to having people fall asleep on me (all-the-time problem), being chased from the bus stop (so far so good), or just-missing-the-bus-home (almost, but not yet).

I maintain my promise to explore my commute in depth, but in short and for the purposes of this post, I leave my home at 7 p.m. in my car, drive approximately five miles to the commuter parking lot, board the 7:40 bus, and ride to a second commuter lot before the bus reaches the destination in Shady Grove. From Shady Grove's Metro Station I board the 43 and get off in front of my building. In all it takes approximately two hours to get there. (It takes one if I drive but saves the money.)

This morning the bus slowed to a complete stop several exits before the one it takes to get to the Metro station. We were stopped so long that I jarred from my morning nap (a perk in the commute!) and thought, "OH NO WE'RE AT MY STOP I BETTER GET OFF BEFORE IT LEAVES!" The bus wheezed from there, lumbering forward occasionally before stopping again, and the lack of movement forward caused several passengers to cry out, "NOOOOOOOO." Cries of agony are a sign you're in for a long and disatisfied journey and done napping.

Naturally, I arrived to my stop late. The bus wheezed past my next stop. A stop with a bus. The stop was full of people who looked impatient and as I whizzed past commuters to the bus I wasn't my bus. Oh. Well. I'd better go inside Metro and withdraw money for my commute home.
...And of course, exiting Metro I was just missing my bus. But I caught it! See what an improvement is over the past? In the past I would have run after the bus and fallen into a rain puddle. Instead I ran after the bus and it stopped.

I had to make a stop after that. I knew it was daring given that i was late, but I saw that I was already late. I had planned for the extra time I'm given (sometimes arriving to work twenty minutes early!) and decided I could stop for breakfast-to-go. So I did! And waited forever for the next bus.

It was the next bus where I learned all the dirty. In the past I wouldn't have learned anything! On the bus I learned that a man was in traffic, where there was a four-car pile-up! So he missed his 43 connection! And the driver said the accident has affected the route! Darn you, 270!

Ultimately many of my co-workers were late too. (And from there I spilled oatmeal on my shirt and suffered various mishaps.) We sat begrudgingly through an all-company seminar, bonded in our crankiness derived from traffic woes.

So it could have been worse...right?

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