I really loved my daily commute which started at the end of December 2010 and continued till August of 2012. I used to commute for 2 hours daily back and forth to office. And I loved it. No I am honest… I loved it.. Why…?
There are many layers to why I liked it. The first reason was this… I was getting into the workforce after a while and I was all excited and that excitement made even the commute such a pleasurable experience.
The other reason was, I was not driving and I was taking the train and so I had this two hours all to myself. A time that was just me and my thoughts. I never made friends during this time.
For over 18 months I travelled pretty much with the same people.. but I never made any acquaintances.. It was my free time and I did not want to spoil the beauty of it by any intrusions.
I even avoided people I know if by chance I happen to see them on the train. Of course without them noticing. Why was I so much yearning for my free time. I had been through a tough few years and had a lot to unwind. This was my time to do that.
I read quite a bit… around 24 books in 2012. I also completed a Novella in 2011 as part of the National Novel Writing Month in November. Never published it though. And some days I would just sit quietly looking at people. I observed people and what they did. People who boarded at each station. Who they were with and what they were talking about. I started imagining how their last few hours would have been before they boarded the train.
This also put me into a writing exercise that I called the “Transit Reader’ where I will pick one person who boarded and as I observed them, I would write about them. I would weave a story about the last 3 hours of their life till they boarded. It was fun…
This idea did not spring up in my mind just like that. There was this one gentleman who used to draw portraits in his small notebook. One day I was sitting next to him and he was drawing. I took a glance and saw that he was making a portrait of a man sitting a seat away facing us. I wondered if he will finish the portrait of the man before his station comes. He did not.. but then I realized something very intresting.
This artist had his book full of many unfinished portraits and based on which seat he gets to sit and who is visible he will pick up that and continue. I loved that. I did not know how to draw but I liked what he was doing. I decided to try that and that was what sparked the Transit Reader.
I would daily look forward to this commute… even during the winter and when it is so cold in San Francisco. I would still continue boarding the train at 7:30 AM in the morning. I loved my commute and it was something amazing that I looked forward to everyday. I have not enjoyed any other commute… ever…
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