Give me someone who always enjoys the commute and I’m going to bet they’re the ones who put thought, time and effort into preparation for the train/tram/bus/car/walk or ride into the city.
(I may have missed a mode of transport so please forgive me – I’m assuming people who fly into work wouldn’t be reading this column?) Anyway, you get the drift.
Be repared because enjoying the commute is surely only achievable if a number of conditions are satisfied:
You feel comfortable in your skin (whatever skin you adopt for your day – corporate, casual, active, urban/e, hippy, goddess … etc, etc);
You are warm enough or cool enough;
You’re not hungry or thirsty; and
You’re entertained, or at least happy enough to either be present to your surroundings or day-dream the time away.
As a mum and sole carer of two teenage boys, I relate to the latter. The commute gives me the perfect excuse to do nothing, produce nothing, fulfil nothing and answer to no one. I guess that’s why – and you may relate – I get grumpy if someone asks anything of me on my commute.
To move out of the way, shift a bag, lift an umbrella, push back against a too-hard jostle, talk to someone you don’t know very well but who you feel obliged to. I find all of it kinda annoying. Not very annoying. You could probably describe it as disgruntlement actually.
Let me be in repose on my commute. Is that too much to ask?
Getting back to prep. The 96 tram I catch out to Brunswick from the city is often freezing cold in summer to the point of – I don’t know – Arctic cold? Is that an exaggeration? Anyone? It’s like they have one setting for the air conditioning and its frigid. Although it can be 35 plus outside, inside the 96 it’s the middle of winter – in your fridge. So you must be prepared. A shawl, a cardy, old newspaper, a warm partner – any and all of them will do. In winter it’s easier. They seem to have more than one type of warm setting. But still, there’s a big difference between having something on that’s too light and shivering through the door openings, and being truly, supremely, smugly warm and cosy.
Hunger and thirst are not usually an issue for me. I personally wouldn’t bother taking a serve of bircher muesli or a green shake onto the tram (although I must admit to being quite admiring of people who do). I actually think they’re pretty cool. And I’m pretty sure that bircher is good for you, lots of nuts, chia, blueberries, yoghurt – yumness. And green is my favourite colour. Gotta love the shake.
Entertainment. That’s difficult. Podcast, e-book, real book, music. Too much choice. Not enough simplicity. The commute gave me the opportunity to listen to S-town, which I never would have done … and yeah, it took me someplace, expanded my world.
Now I’ve decided to give myself permission to read a popular book that’s not necessarily literary, but that I know will be a page turner. Lianne Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. I can read her books and enjoy them while kidding myself that I could write as well, share deep and witty insights, and truly resonate with people who would totally get it. And get me. Ahh self delusion is a wonderful thing. It makes me who I am.
Til next time.