Morning commute

I begin each weekday morning with a commute. For a while this consisted of a car ride to a subway ride to another subway ride, but for the past few months a bus has taken the car's place.

One bus line, the B36, stops a block down from my house. The B36 both terminates and originates at that stop, a property it shares with all looping creatures. When the B36 first sets out, it heads north, then turns east, then south, then east again; my desire is easterly, so I avoid getting on the bus at its last/first stop and instead walk the three blocks east and try to meet a bus after it has completed its loping "U." I sometimes get on the same bus that I saw departing just as I was leaving my house. Pulling this off gives the same gratifying feeling as when the express train I'm on speeds past local trains that I chose not to board; it's the feeling of time travel.

More recently I've been taking the B74, which travels in more of a straight line, and has the Stillwell Ave subway station as its terminal stop and therefore is less crowded than the B36, which goes to more interesting places besides. The extra block that I walk to catch the B74 further exposes me to the neighborhood's predators: the livery cabs that circle the blocks around bus stops, honking their horns once in a quick staccato (perhaps one note does not a staccato make, but I maintain that this one does) at everyone they see, hoping to entice commuters to forsake the bus for a beaten up Town Car. I'm wearing headphones, listening to my iPod at this point, but while headphones are often enough to deter the odd passenger on the bus or subway from striking up a conversation, they just signal the cabbies to honk louder. Eye contact, or simply looking around, in response to a honk compels the drivers to pull their cars over to the curb, making illegal U-turns if that's what it takes. But I have my Metrocard and a free transfer coming to me, and I resist.

I get in to work at 10am.


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