Commutes I Have Made

It’s fun to talk about the trips we take for vacations: the exotic locations, the beautiful sights, or even the hilarious misadventures and wrong turns and catastrophes–but those only happen a couple of times a year. However, most of us take much more mundane trips every day: our commutes. For twenty-six years I’ve been commuting to school and/or work without a car. Here’s how:

Ages 5-17: walking between a half-mile and a mile along the well-maintained sidewalks of Glen Ellyn, Illinois (built character, avoided school-bus bullying)

17-18: walking across Washington Square Park, New York (occasionally stopping to sit on the fountain and write extremely important and revolutionary poetry)

18-19: Purple Line, Evanston, Illinois (just two stops, nothing of note)

19-21: Red Line, Chicago, Illinois, then a transfer to the Purple Line, four more stops (This was especially rough when I had to get to the cafe for work by 6 a.m. to start baking. Sometimes I didn’t hear my alarm and had to try to hail a cab on North Sheridan in the pre-dawn hours.)

22-24: Red Line to Brown Line (one of the few times I worked in a residential rather than strictly business area)

24: Red Line (lots of stops but nothing too interesting)

25: Blue Line or Milwaukee bus (usually Milwaukee bus because it was nearly impossible to shove myself into the sardine can of the Blue Line at rush hour)

26-28: 147 Express bus down Lake Shore Drive (nicest commute I ever had–quick service, beautiful views, and an almost complete lack of crazies)

29-30: the entire length of the Brown Line (plus: always got a seat; minus: the Entire Length of the Brown Line)

31, Part 1: four days a week: bedroom to home office, approximately 3 seconds each way; one day a week: CTA bus to El to Pace suburban bus, 2.5 hours each way to the suburbs. (This truly shook my commitment to car-free living.)

31, Part 2: six stops on the Brown Line (or walking a few miles on a nice day, but I only did that like three times.)

31, Part 3 and with any luck the last Part for a while: Lawrence bus to Blue Line (Non-express buses are pretty awful for commuting, but I’m just glad to have the job, despite the location.)