Back to Full Time: The Commute
Ever since I was in college, I have always become fixated on getting from point A to point B. You see, although I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, I decided to leave the state and attend a school located in Amherst Massachusetts - UMASS to be precise. That first year, after I had passed my road test, my parents were a bit leary of buying me a car so I could traverse the route to college on my own.
Instead, I took the planes, trains, buses and carpool route. No matter how I sliced it, I could never get to school in under 3 hours. If I made great time, it would take about 3 and a half hours, but when I got stuck in traffic, it would mean a five hour trip that seemed to last an eternity. By sophmore year, my parents bought me a white Mazda 323 and I managed to memorize every rest stop on I95 and became giddy when I knew that a quarter pounder with cheese, small fries and a diet coke would always be a part of my adventure.
When I graduated college and attended grad school, I drove my new car, a candy apple red Mazda MX3 back and forth from Brooklyn throughout Manhattan. Since I didn't have to be concerned with train schedules, I don't really remember how long it took me to get to and from school. I passed the time by singing to tunes on my car radio or cassette player. For me, driving was the ultimate escape.
When I was pregnant with my daughter and son, I remember waddling to the train, passing pedestrians, bike messengers, climbing up and down about 100 steps and after being completely winded, collapsing into my seat. A warning to moms-to-be who are nine months pregnant and have a job that requires them to race to their commuter train or bus: I gave birth to my son three weeks early and they say that walking could trigger labor.
Over the last two decades, I have continued to take every mode of transportation to work - from buses to cabs to subways to pedi-cabs, to horse and buggy rides, to roller blades - I know down to the split second how much time you will need to catch your train if you are two different trains away from your final destination. I know it may sound trivial, but a five minute difference could result in you not getting home in time to catch your daughter's softball game and trust me, when your child is over five, they will not recount all the times you made it to their games or recitals - they'll rattle off the handful of times you weren't there when they looked out into the audience or onto the bleachers.
After recently taking on a full time job, I've once again tried every form of transportation to get to and from my office and discovered that the best time saving option is the bus, which leaves me about a block and one avenue away from my final destination. The one thing I can say about my new commute is that at least I won’t be sitting all day in front of a computer screen not getting any exercise whatsoever. I’ve got about 15 pounds to lose after my sedentary lifestyle at the laptop and those days and nights on the bleachers has caused my lower half to expand at the speed of light.
As far as the job, the jury is still out. The days fly by, I’m enjoying being in an office and working with really smart and creative people but I wish at the end of the day, I could just take a leisurely stroll to my car and drive home in 10 minutes. But a 10 minute drive, wouldn’t be enough of a challenge. I like to live life on the edge and if that means dropping my daughter off at school, racing to my train and hoofing it to my office, then so be it. Once a commuter, always a commuter.