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That’s what the bus felt like this morning.
My commute is a little over an hour, door to door. if I take the bus. It’s a 15-20 minute drive to get my feet in line to board, just under 30 minutes on the bus, and maybe an 8-minute walk to the office from the station. (It’s about 40 minutes doorstep-to-desk to drive to work, but add in $7 for parking and the cost of 40 miles worth of gas, and the stress of traffic going home, and the time becomes less of a factor.)
I’ve never had a commute of more than 20 minutes. At least not to a “real” job. When I was piecing part-time jobs together to make a living, I did, but that was different somehow. I always swore I wouldn’t work in Denver unless there was a train, because I knew I’d hate the commute, so it has taken me a while to make peace with this. And I have made peace with the actual transportation element, just not with the extra time it takes from my day.
I can’t read on the bus, because I get carsick. Once in a great while, I can almost nap, if I am very tired. Oddly enough, I can do some shamanic journeying (adding a whole new meaning to the term “magic bus”). But most of the time, I just zone and think and look out the window and write in my head. I use it as decompression time between the world of work and the world of, well, the world.
Today was a little different. Last night, we had gale force winds, which usually accompany warm temperatures at this time of year. At two in the morning, I was awakened out of a sound sleep by a THUMP out front. It was a big THUMP as you might guess from the capital letters. I lay in bed, wondering what it was, imagining what it might be, listening to the wind howl as it beat up the wind chimes, and realizing that no, I was not in an episode of “Little House on the Prairie” and yes, I was a single homeowner who had to get up and see what the haps was. I dutifully opened the front door, and was almost blown away by freezing, blasting, flying snow. It wasn’t a lot of snow, but it was most certainly a blizzard of snow. Realizing that it was just a little camp table that had blown over on the front porch, I went back to bed to listen to the rage until I fell asleep.
With the snow shovelling citation still looming over my head, I went out and dutifully shovelled half an inch of snow off my walk, and it was off to the bus stop. Ridership increases in proportion to the vileness of the weather, so the bus was already packed when it arrived. My co-worker whom I sometimes encounter during the commute insisted that I take his seat, which was most gentlemanly of him (and I have a whole post about ladies and gentlemen of the bus brewing in my busy little brain, so stay tuned). That I didn’t have to stand was unusual enough, but the bus itself was unusual today. Because of the sheer mass of humanity packed inside, there was no view whatsoever through the windows. They were completely fogged up by the hot exhalations of all these people (which is actually a little disgusting when you think about it too much, so don’t). The lack of view made me feel almost claustrophobic - something I never feel – and kind of anxious – something I wish I never felt. It was like travelling in the belly of a worm, or in something that has been thoroughly licked by a giant tongue of milky slime.
I kept my eyes closed and that seemed to help.
But really, it was just another bus ride, just another morning commute, with a good driver (this time) who didn’t constantly step on his brakes for no reason, and had confidence in his own skills (unlike one of the lady bus drivers whom we occasionally get in the morning).
Thank you, RTD, for spitting me back out at Market Street Station, unscathed and unslobbered.