I have a long commute. Really long. It's nearly two hours each way, more or less, which means that I leave the house at around 6:30am and don't return until around 6:30pm, which leads to the feeling that my workday is about four hours longer than it actually is. To add insult to injury, I pay about $450 a month for the pleasure of commuting (AKA: driving a car that doesn't work in the snow to a parking spot that is way too tight to get on a train that is always packed to take a ten block walk breathing in air that smells like urine) for four hours a day. And today, June 14th, marks exactly one year that I've been doing it, every single weekday, in and out.
Okay. I hope that set the scene for you. Because here is the thing: I actually like it. Sure, there are problems with it (um, read above?), but overall, it's not so bad. I moved back up here knowing full well how long it takes to get to the city, and I did it anyway. Living up here, having the wherewithal to write and make decisions and be a normal, productive person outside of work, has been 100% worth it, and I wouldn't change the past year for anything. I know now what my parents and thousands of MetroNorth patrons before me knew: having access to both a great job in an amazing city with unlimited cultural offerings and the ability to live in a quiet area with nice people and deer & turkeys in the backyard, well, that makes the whole long commute thing worth it.
It's also more than just that. The commute itself isn't so bad. Even though it takes about twice as long as my commute from Brooklyn did, it is a million times more pleasant. I drive my (amazingly cool convertible) car to the station, and then sit down for a full 54 minutes, free to read, write, knit or fiddle with my phone as I please. I've posted thousands of twitter updates, read dozens of books, and finished knitting one entire sweater on that train. I know a lot of busy people read this blog, so they can understand when I say that this time is absolutely vital to my sanity. I'm good at time management, and so it's nice to have the extra time if I'm really pressed for an article or need to get some last-minute work done before the day starts, but really, it's the everyday quietude of the train that has become essential to my personal productivity and general happiness. Now that Roger commutes in with me most mornings, it's also a time for us to regroup, chat about our plans for the day or for life, and generally get reacquainted with each other. And then, of course, I come into the city through the greatest entrance on earth: Grand Central Station. Perfect.