September 8, 2011

September 8, 2011

Notes from a Commute

Disclaimer: I’m still ridiculously fond of DC. It is the city that still makes me feel like a scene from West Wing could break out at any moment. I *have* gotten to know it a lot better these past three years, though. It’s sometimes delightful and sometimes dismaying.

I’ve mentioned before that I spend a lot of time commuting. A lot. Of time. Waiting for buses, waiting for trains, walking, and so on. If I’m lucky, I spend two hours a day getting to or from work. If I’m not lucky, we’re talking three to four hours. Yes, there are cases when I could literally walk faster.

But that’s a topic for another therapist.

Since I suffer from abundances of both anxiety and inner monologue, I often find myself internally blogging about things I notice on my commute. Since I started at cabinet-department-that-shall-not-be-named, my new commute has provided ALL SORTS of fodder. It’s the difference between the bus crowd and the train crowd: more space, yes. More space for weirdness.

Allow me to translate a little of my recent inner monologue to a more permanent medium.

Have you ever noticed that people walk more slowly when they’re talking on the phone? I assume it’s a result of the split in focus. I’ve noticed that people also walk more slowly when they’re walking with another person or texting. Sometimes I’ll get stuck behind someone doing two of the three. (I assume that if someone ever finds a way to do all three at once, s/he will actually go backwards in time.) Since the sidewalks I commute on are very narrow (and often clogged with students from THE George Washington University), I have few chances to shoot the gap. Sometimes I gotta walk in the street. Sometimes I gotta richochet off a church stoop. Sometimes I gotta duck under Slowy McSlowerson’s umbrella as I whoosh around him.

Speaking of: umbrellas. It’s been a rainy week in Washington; the universe is crying at the impending collapse of our society. Unlike the British, who face precipitation with a brigade of somber black umbrellas, I have to live not only with garish colors but a multitude of sizes. These umbrellas work equally well as Christo installations. Topped with sharp prods. Some have vents. Handles more ornate than anything post-czar has a right to be. We’re all commuters here, people. If you have to carry an umbrella on the train and then in the midst of a walking crowd, IT SHOULD NOT BE LARGE ENOUGH TO SHELTER YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY.

(And then there is the occasional parent-with-small-child who insists that Little One gets her own teeny umbrella that does more shin-bruising than anything else. Pop a raincoat on the child and call it a day.)

So between all of that and the not-infrequent tunnel floods, sick passengers, traffic-impeding accidents, no-show buses, and track fires, things are always interesting for those working in and around DC.

Enjoy your commute today. I wish I could.

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