I had a series of plans when I came back from Africa. I was going to find a job in publishing, move downtown in January, and learn to use transit. Modest dreams, but so far only the latter has come true.

Using transit has proven to be a bipolar experience. On the one hand, it’s cheaper and less stressful than driving. It allows me time to read and listen to podcasts. And, of course, it’s eco-friendly. On the other hand, standing in the rain waiting for a bus is never fun, especially when that bus doesn’t show (which happened twice this week). And three hours of transit tends to be draining. In the evenings I have little-to-no motivation after my 13-hour workday.

The length of my commute is a temporary condition, but it has allowed me establish a rhythm. On my bus in the morning, I read a chapter from a novel. On the Skytrain I switch to music. Something midtempo (Stabilo, Andrew Bird). On the way home I’ll listen to podcasts on the Skytrain(This American Life, the Vinyl Cafe, the Economist, BBC’s All Things Considered), then switch to something upbeat on the bus (Cold War Kids, Broken Social Scene).

There’s also nothing quite as exhilarating than running half a block to catch a bus and jump on panting. And nothing so depressing as having those doors close five steps in front of you.

In the morning the Skytrain glides past the Fraser, the fog lifting gentry off the river. In the evenings the city skyscrapers sparkle. In those moments I am no longer a passenger, no longer caught in the daily drivel. I escape.


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