Monday, September 3, 2018
Days commuting are not time lost, but time found
I'm reading a new report claiming Chicagoans "lost" an average of 503 days commuting over their lives, time they "waste" traveling to and from their jobs.
I am agog, aghast and aquiver.
I have been commuting in and around the Chicago area for ... 35 years now, going to newspapers in Barrington, Wheaton and, since 1987, downtown Chicago. I've gotten to work by foot, bike, car, cab, train, bus. I once hitched a ride to the office from Belmont Harbor in a lovely Chris-Craft cabin cruiser.
However done, commuting has always been among the most pleasurable moments of the day.
Going back to that first job, at the Barrington Courier-Review, driving my grandmother's little blue Chevy Citation. Stopping at a Dunkin' Donuts to pick up breakfast—a raisin bran muffin and, for desert, a chocolate chip muffin. Reaching into the bag, pulling up the top—the best part, dense and glossy and delicious—and pressing it against my lips.
I lived in Oak Park when I started working at the Sun-Times, and did at first view my daily commute downtown with alarm. For about for 10 seconds, then shrugged and decided, "I'll just have to read 'Remembrance of Things Past' then." Sitting in the front of the 'L,' a fat volume cracked in front of me, occasionally glancing up from the gardens of Combray to watch the city rushing toward me.
Some of my most memorable moments came during a commute. After we got married, we moved to East Lake View. Sometimes I'd take the 151 bus,. An elderly gent once tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I didn't realize young people still read Thurber."
"We do," I replied, smiling. "And thank you for calling me 'young.'"
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