Thursday, July 17, 2008

Commuting-101

Every morning and every evening, I ride the commuter rail train.

I betcha didn't know that there's a perfect science to commuting, did you?

In the mornings, I leave the Trenches between 6:42 and 6:45 am. Any later than that and I am forced to channel my inner Junior, which is NOT a good thing.

Every day, I park in the same spot at the train station (preferably spot #300). This spot ensures my quick getaway in the evening (more on that later).

Every morning, I ride on the 2nd car from the front. It's a double-decker, and I always sit downstairs. Facing front. (I get nauseous if I have to ride backwards. I think it's because I spent my entire childhood riding in the "way back" of our family station wagon.)

I always sit on the inside of a 3-seater. This way, I can immediately lean my head against the window and SLEEP.

(I sleep like a CHAMP on my morning train ride. Sometimes I wake up so disoriented I can't remember if I'm going to or coming from work. And I'm pretty sure I snore...and drool.)

All this happens before I even start my 8:45 a.m. work day. (Yeah. You read that right. A full 2 hours after I've left the Trenches.)

In the evenings, I head to the train station around 4:45. It is always my mission to try to snag a single-seater for the ride home because let's face it, sitting next to strangers (when I'm not comatose, that is) SUCKS IT. So I usually end up playing the "train game" where I try to guess which track my particular train is on and I head for that same 2nd car from the front, ahead of the pack.

[There's an innocent-looking old lady who is my fiercest competition for a coveted single-seater. So I race her (in my head) every night. Usually the bitch elderly woman wins. So I once again sit on the inside of a 3-seater and hope that the train isn't packed so no one will have to be squished next to me.]

About 2 stops before mine, I start making my way to the front of the train car. There's a crowd of us who stand there, much to the annoyance of other passengers who are getting off first.

I do this because the parking lot in the evening? Is a nightmare. Easily 20 extra minutes of traffic jam if I don't get my ass outta there quickly. By this time, it's after 6pm, and I don't have an extra 20 damn minutes to spare when I've been gone all day and just want to get home to parent mah preshus baybee boyz. (Heh.)

So you see, there's really a lot more to commuting that just the actual train ride. Lots of practice, skill and maneuvering is involved.

Along with a hefty daily dose of bitching.

17 comments:

Suz said...

Ahhh, I could've written this myself. Commuting is a skill few have mastered. Its all about throwing elbows and hastening the step. Also, the best sleep of my life I get on the LIRR.

Ladybug's Picnic said...

Oh, there is an art for sure. When I took the T to work from Cambridge to my office in Malden it took serious strategy - the 1st car on the Red Line out of Porter square - a mad dash at Downtown Crossing to score a coffee at the Dunkin Donuts INSIDE the station - timing it just perfectly to catch the Orange Line train out to Malden Center. Of course, getting on the "right" car to get a seat and be near the crowded escalator when getting off in Malden.

Ah, the memories of commuting.

Pam said...

See if you can find an old (1980s) song by The Roches - The Train -- a lovely little song about the commuter train ("once you get on, you can never get off of the Commuter Train..."). And the sisters' voices are lovely, which only adds to the humor. It's not "The Man Who Never Returned" (is that the right name?), but...
(I read often but I don't think I've ever commented before .. thanks for entertaining me! I spent a week in Boston for a convention in May -- I should have commented sooner and I could have bought you a drink!)

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

My commute only involves spending $100 to gas up the tank and drive all over Hell's half acre dropping off and picking up kids from two different schools as I come and go from my office.

At least you can read or something, right? I have to listen to them fuss for 1.75 hours a day.

fairytalesandmargaritas said...

That really sucks! My husband works an hour away and works 10 hour shifts. The commute just sucks on top of a work day!

AFRo said...

Crap. I was convinced that I had it bad after having to walk to my car in the morning and drive a half hour into town. Yours is way worse. I stand corrected.

catnip said...

I won't tell you about my commute so I don't make you mad at me. But then I hardly make any money either.

So, what I wanna know is, when the heck do you have time to blog?!

Scary Mommy said...

That bites. I used to work in Boston and it was a nightmare. I always felt like I needed a bath the minute I got home!

Chaotic Joy said...

Holy Cannoli Sarah. That is a looong day!

pjmomof3boys said...

Seriously, I'm never going to bitch about my 20 minute commute where I get to sit by myself in a car and listen to whatever I want in the radio again! Wait--I guess I never really did bitch about it. It's the only "alone time" I get! I'm glad I don't have to fight an elderly woman for a seat! :)

Jenn said...

I love the "between 6:42 and 6:45"..so I'm not the only person that thinks, "OK, if I leave by 6:43, I can still make it..."

Binkytown said...

thats some serious logistics. I hope you beat her to the single seat tonight!

ed's girl said...

sarahhhhhhhh! i have missed your funny blog! Believe it or not,my computer is such crap that it won't even open yourblogsite??? so i am at my sister's catching up. i hope yo uare doing well? still dreamin of that week away, no kids, right?
ttyl~kim

Mom of 5 said...

I drive in ever day, and there is definitely a science to it. Getting 5 kids up, dressed and out the door around 5:23 takes careful planning. If I go past 5:25, I have to rush. Coming home involves getting off on time and making it on the highway before it jams up. If I miss my window by 5-10 minutes, I will easily add 20 minutes to my drive home. If the kids are not ready when I pick them up, it can really screw up the rest of my drive home. Bumper to Bumper with 5 rowdy whiny kids is TORTURE.

ali said...

Just sitting here in rural Arkansas thanking my lucky stars there's no need for commuter trains:)

iheartchocolate said...

Wow. All I can say is wow. To you AND the others commenting..
I stay home, but can't pay the bills. I'd almost rather NOT be able to pay 'em than to commute like that! I respect you even more for being able to do that.
I used to commute in the traffic of Northern Virginia and it took about an hour to get to and from work (off peak hours) and I hated even that. I am blessed and thank YOU very much for making me see it even more!

Manic Mommy said...

Yup. Went to UMASS/Boston. Four busses and four trains round trip for the first year. You bet there was a system.

If I was lucky, I could sit near the guy who chewed shoelaces.

Good times...

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