Sep 7, 2011

22 Remembering A Commute To Work On A Cold Day - Observation

First leg of my commute: On the Bus to the Subway

Boarding the bus with a smile and a cheerful, “good morning,” while flashing my pass I settled myself into a seat for my ride to the station. The driver chatting with another fellow driver stopped at Marion Road. The driver still in conversation with his colleague checked Metropasses, Student IDs, tickets, tokens and cash fares paused in his conversation to call to a passenger crowding, “Excuse me ma'am, you need to put in $1.50 more”

“Oh, hehe, she laughed sheepishly as she made her way up front to the driver while digging around in her purse for change. A penny fell, barely glancing at it she continued to rummage in search of spare change. The driver patiently waited, after a few seconds she came up with some more change ($1.50 I presumed) and dropped them in announcing, “I didn’t have enough change”.

The driver looked at her and said, “ma'am the fare is $2.75, it is also states the fare there on the sign” he said pointing to the right lower side bus windshield where passengers can easily see it.

“Well I just didn’t have enough change”, the woman reiterated. Taking a deep breath the driver responded by saying “ma'am the sign says $2.75. It does not say, if you don’t’ have enough throw in whatever you want”. He tone was so deadpan that I almost busted out laughing but managed to control myself.

Second Leg of my commute: Waiting for the Elevator in the Subway to the Train

I pressed the down button utilizing the time to finish my bus observation in my notebook while I waited .The elevator swished passed going straight up without stopping and came back down some seconds later stopping on the bus platform where I stood, it was packed. The door opened and no one made a move to come out. I didn’t even try to go in. “ooh full house, I guess no one wants the buses today” I said as some people smiled. Just as the doors were about to close two Asian girls started making their way sheepishly to the front asking excuse me to come out. ‘hmmmmm, two came out, there’s enough room for one’ I thought and made my way in sing songing, “good morning everyone”. “Good morning” they all said in chorus, as I exited I sing song, “Have a good day beautiful people” hurrying to the train as their “you too, have a good day” followed my receding back.

Third Leg of my commute: On the train…

The train ride was pretty much uneventful except for the man going to town incessantly scratching his scrotums (balls) but that is just too gross to relive yuck, and the moments the train was stuck in the tunnels for a while. If I sound unphased by the train delays it is because it happens so often one gets sadly accustomed to it. This is usually where I close my eyes and zone out, it’s either that or misuse ones good energy getting angry over something for which I have absolutely no control.

Fourth & final leg of my commute: Waiting for the streetcar at the Subway Station

There was a line up (I don’t do line ups, sorry), so much people one would think it was a carnival i.e. Caribana. It was cold, ruggedly windy and the snow was coming down fiercely in big chunks. As I was walking toward the front part of where the streetcar would park I noticed a young woman watching me and smiling. She was my volunteer some years back, beautiful afro-Caribbean young woman. We chatted while we waited. The streetcar came and the push fest began. I simply positioned myself nicely allowing only a young woman with a baby strapped to her chest past, strolled in and took a seat. My young friend and I continue to talk until I reached my stop. Again the push fest began, push to go in, and shove to go out. I was sitting and had to get up and physically catch a lady with her coffee as she was unceremoniously thrust aside as people attempted to exit the streetcar. The poor woman didn’t know what to do with herself. I just gently moved her into the seat I vacated and made my way out. The people outside was coming in, standing in the front and barring the people from exiting; no one would make room for us to come out. Fed up ask rather loudly, “Can the people to the front step off the streetcar and let us out please!”, and with that we were out. Seeesh…..Sometimes simple travel can be quite a trial in patience and tolerance.

 

22 comments:

  1. Wow! I don’t think I could handle that on a daily basis. Your’re a strong one. Peace and blessings to you!

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  2. 1st leg reminds me of a check out counter when someone is ahead of me trying to cash a 3rd party check or something that tales a long time, anymore I grin and bear it2nd leg I like the demeanor you and the people had, nice3rd leg sounds like an overloaded track system, reminds me of slow traffic or traffic jambs4th leg sounds dreadful with pushing and shoving to me, but your assertiveness helped everyone about you!Hugs

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  3. I too find no use in getting mad, angry, excited whatever about that which I have no control what so ever over. Fruitless and just makes a person more frustrated than they were, Just draw in and endure till it’s over.

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  4. It is good you take this all in stride, that’s the attitude that will make for good days for you. There are so many interesting things going on around us all the time, if we would just pay attention. Sometimes I miss things by not being totally observant to ALL things.

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  5. Nice that you don’t worry about those things that one can’t control. And perked up elevator travellers with your simple act! It’s another matter that being nice isn’t going to get you out of a jampacked streetcar in a jiffy :)In India, we have a "Bus Conductor" travelling on the bus to sell tickets to passengers boarding the bus and they return the change in case one does not have the exact fare.

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  6. Sounds like quite a chore just to get to work, at least most of the people were plesant on ht elevator. Now tell us the story about your commute home from work (smile).

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  7. No, no, no, I would be so frustrated when I get to work after all this! I don’t have the patience for public transport anymore. These are very similar situations to what I experienced here when I used the MARTA a few years ago. I had to get a car, I just couldn’t do it! I had to commute for almost two hours with aggravation on P.T, verses a 20 minutes drive in my own car with little to no traffic. I hope this situation will eventually get better for you

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  8. Wow, do you have to do that everyday?

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  9. Good day! I hope your commute goes well today. j

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  10. I never knew you had to go through this commuting ordeal daily.I thoughts things would be orderly in your place.We are accustomed to such crowds in elevators and buses in India.During peak times elevators wouldn't stop at the intervening floors but whiz past them from top to ground.During peak hours, only the mighty can board packed buses and trains

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  11. @KParthasarathihmmmmm, and its only getting worst. The North/South subway line is worst, a few times i had to brave it to get to my doctors appointment, it was standing room only and the method of entry is push and shove.

    Only the mighty huh, that made me laugh because i picture you saying, 'oh my, i fear i cannot go,' hehe.

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  12. Interesting day you had. But not as interesting as what you have to go through with public transportation in a place like Lagos!

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  13. I'm lucky to have a short ten minute drive to work.
    Your getting snow already?

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  14. Duh I forgot. The title of the blog was "Remembering A Commute". Duh!

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  15. That bit about people entering and not letting the people that are exiting out first always used to piss me off. Honestly, i don't understand why something like that isn't common sense to some people. I always assume that they are in a rush to get a seat..but you can't get a seat if you don't let folks out first!

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  16. @deolascope I suppose its 10 times worst?, @BostonBoy lol, lol its all good, @LadyNgo many are just focused on their own self, they don't really care.

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  17. Hello,

    What a wonderful way to pass time usefully observing people than traveling fully immersed in our thoughts and problems. Certainly public transport system provides ample opportunities for this. I enjoyed reading your close observations and I thought of my own travails while traveling in public transport. The other day I would have almost fallen off the bus while boarding because the driver took of the bus in a hurry ever before I could get in. Here the public transportation system is in utter chaos.

    Best wishes,
    Joseph

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  18. Hello sis! That is a typical day riding the public metro system. Very insightful of you to have each day detailed, I felt as if I was there. I pray blessings as you continue to travel and allow the world to see your light.

    Natasha

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  19. @Joseph Pulikotil Namaste my friend, it certainly makes things interesting. I have had occassions where i had to assist someone. Often because people are impatient or so locked in their own world that others become obsolete. Thanks for stopping by, always a pleasure.

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  20. @Natasha hey Natasha, its been a minute, thanks for stopping by, you know one has to keep oneself busy or get caught up in the maddness. Stay blessed...do come again.

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  21. Lol! I love these tube and bus observations. You take what most people find frustrating and make them really interesting!

    Adiya
    http://museorigins.blogspot.com
    http://museorigins.com

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  22. @Muse Origins Blessings....thanks for coming. One has to preserve one's sanity at all cost. You know the saying, "life give you lemons, made lemonade!"

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