I wrote the below post on October 11, 2007. By 2007 I had been commuting in New York for over three years. Now, I am driving a measly 20 minutes to work and oh how I miss my commute. Reading this took me back to my own personal time on the train. There are times I wish I could do it all over again.
Some people find it hard to believe that it takes me longer than one hour each way to get to and from my office. All in all, I spend about two hours and twenty minutes of my day traveling. The reality is that I don’t know what I would do without that time each day. I definitely miss it when I have a few days off work. Yes, there are days when I am delayed. There are obnoxious people around me sometimes. The trains are not the cleanest or most sanitary means of transportation. But I wouldn’t trade in my commute for anything. Why? Because the time is mine and I can count on having about two hours of my own time Monday through Friday to read, think, zone out, listen to music, plan, and do whatever else can be done while sitting on a crowded train.
I recognized a long time ago that I need my own time each day, whether I can get it at night when everyone else has gone to bed or some other time. Thanks to the train, I now have time to myself each day without feeling the need to isolate myself from my family once I arrive home just to find my own space. Sure, there are downsides to commuting by train. At the end of a long day, sometimes I just want to be home. Instead, I have to deal with the time and trouble of getting all the way home by train (unless of course you can take the car home). If I decide to leave work at 6:30, I won’t actually walk in my front door until about 7:50 – not exactly an early arrival home although I left the office early by New York standards. Then, there are the times that I am minutes from missing my desired train as the subway pulls up to 42nd Street. Knowing I will be left waiting for the next train, I run from the subway platform up the stairs to the track at GCT, only to see the train pulling out, realizing I missed it by less than one minute. But even then, I don’t complain; that is the price you pay for living in New York.
I like my commute but don’t think I would want any longer of a commute than what I currently have. If I had to commute the same time by car each day, I would move closer to my workplace as soon as I could. I would much rather be stuck on a train than in my car. At least on the train, I get work done.