Commuting

I spent the first six months of my last job commuting from Franklin to Newton. I made it a point to stagger the drive so as to avoid rush-hour traffic, but even with a target arrival of 10:30am I would still tango with gridlock almost every day. During those days, before the honking drove me completely insane, I would sit in my car and wish for an MBTA-friendly commute. I thought of all I could DO with an hour of train-time: read book after book, write poetry, buy a laptop and write the great American novel. Basically, the drive time was turning me into a waste of a human being.

The past two nights, staying at my parents house, it seemed to make more sense to take the train in as opposed to commandeering the behemoth Chrystler Concorde for a round-trip to Boston and back. My sister could drop me off at the station for the 7am pickup, putting me in Back Bay at 8 with plenty of time to fuel up with some strong coffee and a pastry or two. Yesterday the plan worked well – I strolled leisurely to Espresso Royale, grabbed my starch and caffiene, then spent 40 minutes reading on a bench near Kenmore Square. I hadn’t just sat somewhere and read in years, and it felt great.

Then that night I missed my train home and spent an hour and a half waiting for the next one, which on its own is not a bad thing, but I hate being late. Then the train had some problem at the Norwood station, the conductor was confused, and the passenger car smelled like rat farts. I got home at 9pm, making my day a sweet 14 hours long.

This morning, 6:30 came around real early, and once again I schlepped to the station downtown, planning to pass out as soon as my ass hit the seat. 7:07 came and went, with no sign of the train. 7:10. 7:15. At 7:20, lights appeared on the horizon, and the engine chugged anemically into place. I got a window seat, but five stops into the commute the car was standing room only and filled with the sound of wet coughs. We arrived in Boston at 8:40, and by the time I got to the studio, I was sweating, starving, and half-doused in the coffee I’d been carrying for the last ten blocks. And it was 9:15.

Yes, you did the math right. A two-hour commute.

Fuck the MBTA, I want my car back.

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