A few weeks ago I was accepted for an internship out of the blue, and for the past month I’ve metroed in to D.C. every single day. A lot of my fellow commuters and metropolitan friends complain about the trek, but I’ve found my metro commute to be one of my favourite parts of the day. That may sound strange to you, but here’s why I like it so much.
Here’s what my mornings look like. I wake up at 6:25am, turn off my alarm, and then roll over for five more minutes of sleep. (A girl’s gotta have her beauty sleep!) I reawaken at 6:30 and drag myself to the bathroom, into my clothes, downstairs for breakfast and out the door to the metro. At this point, I look pretty professional with my business-casual outfit, stuffed purse, and lanyard with fob. Except for my slightly puffy eyes and stifled yawns. 🙂 Anyways, I stand on the platform until the metro rushes in, buffeting me backwards and then pulling me inwards as the door opens. I walk in, quickly scouting the area for a seat, and then collapse into said chair.
Now what? For the next 35ish minutes, I can do whatever I please.
My favorite thing to do on the metro is read a good book. I rarely have time to read, but my commute is the perfect time to do so! I’ve read quite a lot since starting work and have really enjoyed it. The first two books I read are two of my favorites. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan were life-changers for me, and every time I reread them, something new pops out at me. (I also recommended these in my list of 7 Books You Should Read in 2017). The last book I finished was an economics book my professor/advisor had his class read this past semester titled Identity Economics. It was definitely an interesting read and focused on the behavioral side of economics, which I find extremely interesting. The book I’m currently working on is also from my reading list: Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson. I’ve wanted to read this book since I first laid eyes on it, and it’s been great so far!
If I’m not reading on the metro, it’s probably because I’m tired. Whether I didn’t get enough sleep or the work day dragged on and on, sometimes I just need a couple quiet moments to close my eyes. The best thing about my commute is I have time to take that small break if I need it. Figuring out what to do with the time during my commute has given me ideas and habits for my commute this coming year when I start living off campus. In a few months, I’ll be sitting on a bus instead of the metro, but still with my nose in a book or snoozing in a corner.
What else is there to do while out in public? People watch! There are so many interesting people on the metro, and I enjoy seeing all the different types of commuters, visitors, and vacationers. While it’s quite funny to see people squish onto a crowded metro car, my favorite is watching people go down the escalator. Usually standing on one step, each individual slowly descends, casually looking around or gazing off with their glazed “metro stare”. Short and tall, small and big, professional and casual, plain and interesting. It’s all so fascinating to see.
A majority of persons traveling via metro are professionals, and it feels a bit strange to think of myself as part of that crowd. I’ve never worked in a professional atmosphere before, and it makes me feel like an adult. I’m dressed up and ready to engage and put out a product! Even though I’m only an intern, I’m getting a taste of what the “adult world” is like. It’s got its ups and downs, but participating in the working world is a valuable experience and one I’m very grateful to have.
On the flip side of professionalism is the sense of freedom from metro transportation. I don’t have my own car, so I haven’t yet had that sense of freedom that comes with (almost) unlimited transportation. But when I swipe my metro pass and bounce down the escalators, I feel like the world is at my fingertips. Okay, so it’s only the D.C. area, but that’s still a lot! There’s so much to do with all the museums and gardens and historical and governmental sites. I feel like I’m on an adventure every time I step onto the metro. Who said commuting can’t be fun? Not me!
Looking at me now, you’d probably never guess that metros used to freak me out. I would stand as far back from the edge of the platform as I could without touching the grimy walls and cringe as the train came rushing in. It was probably from all of those horror stories about metros. But now, it’s just a routine part of my day! Experiencing the metro every day has made me less afraid, and now it’s even a bit fun when the rushing wind billows against me and whips around my hair. The rush of fear has turned into a rush of adrenaline! It’s living life on the edge (but minding the gap!).
The coolest part of metroing in to D.C. is my dad and I do it together. He also works in D.C. and is just one stop past mine. We drive to the metro together, discuss the newspaper, stand in “our spot” (the doors always open right in front of us), grab seats (or stand) near each other, wait for each other on the way home … you get the idea! On my first day, it was such a relief and comfort to have him ride with me, and I’ve really enjoyed the time together every day since.
What is your daily commute like? I’d love to hear!