The other day, I made the dreaded daily commute.
I had a meeting with a client in corporate land in the city. I braved the bus home at peak hour. I stood in the line, rummaged through my bag to find the change to pay the driver. It was crowded. It always was crowded.
The lucky ones were sitting on seats, but the rest of us were swinging from plastic straps suspended from the ceiling. Back and forth we swayed, united by a shared frustration and impatience. The bus had two speeds; slow or really slow. The air conditioning was so cold that I knew I would need to defrost after. Even with the air conditioner on glacial, 20 people with arms raised above their head really does not smell great. And I was charged $6.20 for the pleasure!
A man accidently stood on my foot. I didn’t respond because that would just be awkward, right? I thought he would realise straight away and move it. No, it remained, and next thing I knew too much time had passed for me to wiggle out. Imagine the awkwardness! Oh yes, you have been standing on my foot for the good part of 15 minutes sir, but I’ve just decided now that I’d rather you don’t. Awkward as that would have been, more awkward was the fact that he looked down and saw it, and then moved. The look he gave me, one of confusion and embarrassment, soared to new realms of awkwardness. Ah, the joys of the daily commute.
All I was thinking while I was in that incubator of awkwardness was that people do this every day, and I used to be one of them. I was getting so impatient, I just wanted to be home in my office finishing that work I knew was waiting for me. I just wanted to get home to my family. I can’t remember how I used to do this all the time, and I have so much respect for those who still do it every day! I take my hat off to the corporate fold who have to bookend their long days at the office with an equally long commute home.
People say all sorts of things about working from home, along the lines of ‘oh, it must be nice to be at home all day’. Despite their condescension, they’re right. It is nice to work at home, I’m doing a job I love, I have time for my family, and no more daily commute! It’s fair to say that my average day on the job now is a little longer than my average day when I did the daily commute. But what I am getting back is so much more.
So while I was standing there, swaying back and forth on the bus, I had a little moment of appreciation and gratitude for the life I get to live. It may be cheesy, and corny, and all sorts of food related adjectives, but it’s true! Have a great job is good. Having a great life is better.
Now, a moment of silence for those stuck on buses and trains.