Yesterday was the last day of my long commute from Sunnyvale to the city… at least for a while. On a good day, it would take an hour in the morning, and 90 minutes on the way home. On a bad day, it could take more than 2 hours each way. But most days, I tried not to think about it or I’d get depressed.
After a particularly bad commute day (like when someone decided to park their car on the tracks or my Muni bus ride got stuck in Giants traffic causing me to miss my bullet train), I bought this mug in an effort to bring some humor to the daily grind and hopefully cheer up some of my train-riding companions in the process. Most people got the joke, but I’m sure there were a few who just thought I was plain crazy.
Sure, it was nice to have all that reading and editing time or space out time to transition from work to home and not have to fight traffic in my car, but a long commute is a long commute no matter how you slice it. Carl never quite understood why I dreaded it so much until recently, when he had a conference in the city and decided to join me on my daily train and Muni bus ride. I was secretly hoping something would go wrong so he’d see why I sometimes came home in a foul mood. I know that was wrong, but it actually happened. Our Muni bus got stuck in traffic, and we missed the bullet train and almost the train after which was 30 minutes later. We ended up getting off the bus and running in the rain to catch the train. He finally understood why I was so exhausted every evening when I came home. Commuting is full of anxiety – if you don’t leave the office exactly at 5:05pm, you don’t get to the bus stop in time and you miss the train, and all is lost.
I did have some memorable moments though. Here are a few stand-outs…
1. I fell asleep on my way home on the train, and woke up just as the train was pulling out of the Sunnyvale station, expressing south to San Jose. This was a day when Carl was picking me up from the train station so we could zip over to our couples group. As I woke up and realized what happened, I looked out the window and waved, saying, “bye Sunnyvale” and made the humiliating call to Carl that I missed the exit and was heading 25 minutes south. Oops.
2. After racing to the train for my commute home, I received the depressing news that there had just been an accident on the tracks. This could mean a 4-hour delay. So myself and 5 others decided to take the matter into our own hands and share a cab back to Sunnyvale. During rush hour, this is about an hour drive. The funny part is that my new Indian friend who coordinated the taxi ride assembled a group of all Indian people and me. I wondered how I made the cut and if she new the other guys sharing our cab. She said, “No. But since they were Indian, I figured they all lived in Sunnyvale.” She was right…. and she has been my saving grace on many commutes home, even giving me a ride to my house during the uncomfortable last month.
3. I got to know another Muni driver who became my buddy. Jose used to be one of my Muni drivers when I lived in the city, so we recognized each other right away. We shared stories about our pets and families, and then he got moved to a different route. I recently ran into Jose when we were both passengers on a Muni light-rail going through the city towards Union Square. He lit up, took my hand and kissed it, and was so pleased to see me again. I told him I was pregnant and he said, “It’s about time.” I just laughed.
Now, as I await the arrival of Baby H, my biggest commute is to the couch to rest and possibly read a parenting book. I plan to retire the mug for a while.