So it has been a full year since I started commuting without my own vehicle. I guess it makes sense to report on my state of mind regarding the use of public transportation.
First, I will say that I miss my car. She was a sweet, sexy beast and it was an honor to drive her, never mind own her. I have an mp3 of her accelerating from dead stop to fourth gear (wide-open throttle, red line red line red line), and I still very much enjoy listening to it. But this is not a write up on missing my Boo.
I still follow the same commuting route of bus to train to walk, and the reverse going home. There are other routes I have taken that are easier. There is a train stop closer to my office than the one I usually take. It’s less of a walk, and I can jump on the train, go two stops and switch trains…then just ride all the way out to my house. But it takes just a little bit longer (15 minutes) than the route I stick to. If I’m not feeling well, this is my way home, as I’m guaranteed to have a seat for the whole ride.
Overall, as a review of the MBTA’s ability to get me from Point A to Point B, I would have to say that I am quite content. There are a couple other places that I’ll head after work, and I can always get there. Sometimes it takes longer than I want, but I can get there.
Then there’s the actual act of commuting. As a whole, I enjoy it. I can do Sudokus, read books, read the news, etc. As a guy that has been living in Boston for just shy of 15 years, it actually feels good to have the connection with the city, and the people of the city. Granted, I still get pissed off when people talk on the bus/train but that is part of the connection! While I’m stewing about some idiot talking on their cell phone, I can look around and see lots of other Bostonians stewing about the same ill-mannered behavior. Is it anti-social to not want anyone talking while on the commute? Yes. Is that the Boston way? Hell yes.
Over the year, of course, I have dealt with all of the weather this city can throw at me. Sickly sticky humid heat? Check. Torrential amounts of rain dumping straight down on me while waiting at an uncovered bus stop? Check. Wind that would knock me down if I were a smaller human? Check. Blizzards that pile the snow above the knee and drive snow into any opening in my outer wear? Gawddamn, check!
But I love it.
Like I said, it makes me feel like part of my city again. It is the feeling of having to survive it.
Today I encountered something that doesn’t happen very often. Nice sunny day, and when I got off the train underground, I was the first person to hit the steps leading out. I fly into that sun light. I bound up those steps into that freedom and stretch my legs for a half mile, enjoying every step.
Overall, I really enjoy the freedom of not having a car.
That being said, I still love having my ZipCar membership for those moments that I want the instant gratification of, say, Kentucky Fried Chicken or some computer parts at MicroCenter.