Before I quit my job, I commuted with the best of them. I worked until 5pm, left work, hopped on one train from Oakland into San Francisco and commuted with every one else in the Bay Area to arrive at my writing class. At 5pm, sometimes you get a seat on the train, and sometimes you don’t. If you look around the train you would find people doing mostly one of three things: listening to their headphones, playing on their I-phones or texting on their cell phone, or reading. What did I use to do? I slept. If I could get a seat on the train, I would take the extra fifteen minutes of peace that I wasn’t going to get in class, and I certainly didn’t get at home, and just slept. To be fair though, I used to do this when I lived in New York, before I was even married. I love my sleep, so I’m the first to take every opportunity to grab a few extra minutes. In fact, it’s quite impressive if I do say so myself. I only have fifteen minutes, and in that time I have actually had dreams. I’m that asleep.
Anyhow, last week, for the first time, I took the inbound train (not the outbound train like before) at 5:45pm to get to class. I immediately took my seat on a mostly empty train. At first nothing struck me, but then, an outbound train passed us. That train was packed with people reading their papers, texting on their cell phones, and listening to their headphones. Suddenly, it occurred to me, I was doing a reverse commute. I looked around my train car and the people looked much more unique, more relaxed, and certainly not like they were headed home from work. These were younger people, students maybe, or tourists, hard to say, but not nine to fivers. A smile took over my face. I was no longer a part of this world, but merely looking at it through a window. I felt relieved and lucky, and when my stop arrived, I skipped off, bought myself a coffee and gleefully headed to class.