Sometimes I joke around and say that if you don’t know where I am, it’s either in the editing lab working on my current package, or on the commuter rail. It’s sad, but also, not false.
Commuting is a full time job. I love when people take the commuter rail and they clearly don’t do it much, because they are all happy and talkative and they don’t know to have their ticket ready to go before they get on the train. I feel like telling them that the appeal wears off.
Sometimes parents take their children to the train station to watch the trains go by, and it’s adorable to see how happy it makes them, but then I think, if only you knew how much pain it causes all of us.
In order to survive commuting, I have come up with a guide. A top ten, of sorts. If you commute, you will agree, if you don’t you’ll think I’m being ridiculous, but believe me, you are going to want those heavy winter gloves when the train is delayed and you end up having the stand outside for 30 minutes in the 15 degree weather.
Here we go:
10: Get a Really Warm Winter Coat, Jacket, Mittens, Hat.
When the train is late, or the train breaks down, or the heat is broken on the car, or you realize you wanted to go out with your friends after your day, you won’t regret it. Maybe it’s not the latest fashion, or the latest trends, but nobody on the train cares. You will be happy to have that warmth while you wish you didn’t have to wait outside for the train.
9: Invest in Some Really Nice, Comfortable Shoes
It sounds silly, but the thing is, when you commute, you have no down time. From the minute you get in your car to drive to the train, to the minute you get back in your car after the train ride home, you won’t have a minute to relax. Where would you even go to relax? If you are like me, you may have a friend who lives in the North End and lets you go over for an hour in the middle of the day, but still, you can’t rely on him to always be there. Believe me, you are going to want those comfy shoes.
8: Get Really Good At Time Management.
I can tell you the exact amount of time it takes me to get to my house from the train station. (26 minutes) I can tell you the exact amount of time it will take me in Starbucks to get my coffee in the morning, (8 minutes) and the exact amount of time I need to print out my essay that’s due right before class. (if there is no line, 6 minutes.) I know if I take the 8:01 train its 35 minutes, but if I take the 6:56 train it’s 29 minutes. I know it’s 3 minutes from Back Bay to Ruggles, and I know that it takes my 12 minutes to walk from South Station to Sawyer Building.
7: Bring a Book.
Sure, you have your phone, or music. But, day after day of aimlessly scrolling through social media will really wear on you. You will waste your data, your dad will get mad, or you will just feel like you are wasting time. Get a book, read that book. I’m telling you, I’ve read 30 books this year, all thanks to the commuter rail
6: Get Ready To Be Tired.
At least at first. I remember going home, and feeling really tired. Now, I’m used to it, so I’m not tired anymore. My legs hurt, my head was tired, and their are lots of days I still want a little more sleep, but I’m used to it now.
5: Bring Your Lunch
Especially if you are commuting to Boston, I don’t know how expensive the rest of the country is, but Boston is expensive. I just can’t be buying food every day. Bringing lunch really pays off, I can eat it wherever I am, I don’t have to wait in line, which wastes more time. And at the end of the day, when I get hungry, I have a snack. I am already paying for my monthly commuter rail pass and parking, gosh, I don’t know what I’d do if I had to pay 15 dollars for lunch every day. That’s 75 dollars a week!
4: Don’t Expect Miracles.
The commuter rail is run by humans, humans make mistakes. I know I make mistakes, so many mistakes. If the train breaks down, or it’s late, sure it’s annoying, but I can’t get too mad, I’m sure they feel bad enough already, just be patient, wait it out, and eventually I’ll get where I need to go, and usually the train is on time.
3: Really Appreciate When You Get Where You Need To Go
Whenever you get where you are going, be happy, have a little fun, buy a coffee, just be all there, because soon enough, you will have to go back to South Station to wait for the train again, so be happy when you are wherever you needed to be.
2. Be Nice To Everyone You See On The Train, Or On The Sidewalks.
We are all on the same boat. Most likely, nobody really wants to be doing this, but we all are anyways. Let them on the train in front of you, let them sit in the middle seat when they are short on cars that day. Try to smile, tell them if they dropped something. When you are packing for 16 hours, it’s hard to remember it all, help them out, smile, be kind, but don’t be dumb either, be quiet in the morning.
1: No Matter How Bad of A Day it is on the train, it’s still better than driving.
Always remember, sure, most days it’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s windy, but, it’s still better than sitting on the highway in gridlock for hours, wasting gas, wasting time, let alone finding a parking spot in Boston. At least on the train, you can read, you can text, you can listen to your podcast, all while someone else is doing the driving for you. Taking the train, is always better than driving. I tell myself that everyday, and it’s not so bad anymore.
Maybe I’ll see you on the commuter rail!