Nothing gets a person heated like thinking about the god-awful commute you have to make at the beginning of each day. If you’re anything like me, sitting in traffic is worse than listening to your mother complain for 3 hours straight about how she gained 2.5 pounds after birthing you. If you include all the years I went to school in DC while living outside of the city, I’ve been dealing with a 45-60 minute commute in gridlocked traffic for over 18 years. Granted, when I was in third grade sitting in the trunk seat of my dad’s station wagon, the commute was a lot more fun. I got to listen to Good Charlotte’s CD on my older brother’s hand-me-down Walkman and scream lyrics like “GIRLS DON’T LIKE BOYS, GIRLS LIKE CARS AND MOOOOONEEEEY” as my dad grinned at me in the rear view mirror knowing his brat of a daughter was going to one day marry rich. But apparently that is frowned upon in the working world during the various forms of commuting. Who knew? Besides reading this on the metro as you sit in between a cluster of 9th grade girls and a sketchy old man carrying an even sketchier looking backpack staring at said 9th grade girls, here are some ways to survive your commute.
The metro, the “L,” the subway…whatever your city chooses to call it, the commute looks roughly the same. You get to the ticket taker machine, get stuck behind some tourist and her 13 kids all trying to shove the paper ticket in backwards, and wait impatiently as she screams at little Billy to have fun, damn it. 10 minutes later, you roll through strutting your stuff while swiping your metro card in an efficient, fast, and local fashion. At that very moment, you hear your train pull in. The metro gods are on your side today, friend. You push through the tourists and other boring morning commuters with their rolling suitcases to the escalator, praying that your carefully toned calves and tush will give you the extra oomph to catch the train. You prance up the escalator like your’e Buddy the Elf in the mall until you run into Him. The Escalefter. The Escalefter is the worst kind of commuter; they are either just in town for business or just a good old-fashioned douchebag. They stand on the left side of the escalator, blocking all coffee’d-up moving traffic. After being slowed down an extra 14 seconds by this horrid human being, you miss your train. Luckily, the city is probably aware of the influx of traffic before 9am, so the next train will only be another convenient 23 minutes. Say goodbye to your chances of sneaking to your desk before Mr. Chats-Too-Much gets to his.
How to Survive: Let’s be real, you’re not going to get any work done on your WiFi-less laptop while sitting in a seat filled with mysterious crumbs. Wear sunglasses. Who cares if you look like an idiot wearing them in a brightly lit cart, you’ll have a front row seat to some Oscar-worthy people watching. Folks are always their grumpiest first thing in morning and therefore, the most hilarious. Watch out for the couple getting in a heated argument over who forgot to drop the baby off at daycare, that one has hot coffee flying in the air written all over it.
Carpooling is a great, green alternative to you and your neighbor both guzzling a ridiculous amount of gas every day. They force you to be on time to work and allow you to form an unbreakable bond because you get to connect on such a different level. Here’s an intimate look at the relationship between my carpool and me.
So maybe we’re supposed to be at work by 8:00am every morning. And so maybe he gets a little annoyed with me because I’m always late and I never respond to him. Like, ever. In my defense, his text is usually waking me up after I slept through snooze #6 and realize I have like 33 seconds to not look like a tired, hot mess. But whatever, back to carpooling. You drive down three houses, wait patiently for him to jump in the passenger seat, and away you go into the sea of red flashing lights that is bumper to bumper traffic.
How to Survive: Figure out a music routine with your carpool. I usually recommend that “driver gets dibs,” but that doesn’t always work considering one party may only listen twangy country while the other only likes hardcore hip hop and rap. If you both can’t stand the other’s taste in music, try meeting in the middle and listening to something generically boring like the hits station. Nothing says “get perky for a productive day of adult work” like a little Ke$ha and Pitbull reminding you how hungover you are with that ridiculous bass. (Unless your carpool’s late, then feel free to blast Best of Garth Brooks. When he passive aggressively turns the volume knob down a notch, simply laugh as you overrule him using your fancy steering wheel buttons.)