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Thursday, January 26, 2017


More accurately remembering getting to work.
I think the thing I miss the least about being retired is commuting to work.  I commuted in many different ways, none were anything but miserable.  Actually one commute was enjoyable, I’ll save that for last.
In my 40 years of employ, I mostly commuted to work by train.  The train commute was not always too bad.  Sometimes you got a seat, the train was on time, and the conductor was not an asshole.  Most of the time you either had to stand or you sat next to a talker, a sneezer, or a read-over-the-shoulderer, and the conductor was in fact an asshole.
Standing on a rocking train is understandably miserable.  Sitting next to an annoying passenger needs no explanation.  Asshole conductors need some description.  

When you leave you monthly ticket in the seat holder so you can nap and the conductor wakes you to hand it back, he is an asshole.  When you display a no longer valid ticket because you forgot to get a new monthly ticket, instead of saying, “Excuse me sir, this is last month’s ticket, do you have the new one” says instead, “What is this?” He is an asshole.  When you had too much to drink at the Christmas party and the conductor wakes you up as you are pulling away to say you missed your stop, he is an asshole.  When he asks for additional fare because you are traveling past your stop, he is a big asshole.  I could go on, suffice it to say, I did not like most of the train conductors.
Getting to the train was not fun.  Part of the problem was I was always cutting the schedule tight.  Most of my time I drove, about a 15 to 20-minute-high anxiety drive because I was always a little late.  Also, years ago my dad told me when buying a house always buy east of the train station so the sun is not in your eyes going and returning from the station.  I did not heed his admonition; bad mistake. 
The last few years of my career, I lived an easy walk one block away from the train.  That made my commute only half as bad as before.
What was the one commute that was somewhat enjoyable?  For one year, I lived in an apartment on Staten Island, New York.  From my balcony, I had a view of the city, the Statue of Liberty, and the Staten Island Ferry bringing commuters back and forth to the city. 
The Ferry; that was the commute I enjoyed.
A ten-minute bus ride to the ferry was not the greatest, but the ferry was the best commute ever.  Grab a Daily News Paper for 8 cents, buy coffee on the boat for 15 cents, and get a nice seat as you glide along past the Statue of Liberty on to lower Manhattan.  This was a trip tourists came from miles away to enjoy.  In the warm weather, you sat outside and enjoyed the smell of sea air with your coffee and paper.  The trip was about twenty minutes and cost a nickel…I believe it is now free.
I don’t miss the train, I certainly don’t miss the conductors, I don’t miss the driving, or even the walking to get to work, but I do kind of miss that Ferry Ride.


  1. There was a season of time when we lived in San Diego that son took the trolley to his work. I would drive him down there with his bike in the back of the van that he would then use to ride to his place of employment, about 4 blocks from the trolley station. I would pick him up at the end of the day. The trolley station was about 3 miles from our house. He could have ridden his bike, but I spoiled him. I had the time to do so. I was fascinated by the people riding the trolley, but again, I'm a people watcher.

    What that has to do with your story about commuting, I have no idea, except he was commuting to work.

    Hubby has a 50 mile commute (God love him, I thank God every day for his safe trip to and from work) on some "tough" freeways here, accident laden all the time. I admire his devotion to his family for why he is doing such a long commute (so we can be closer to the wee one/family). He plans to do it as long as he can (barring if he gets another job closer to home) but I know he will not miss that commute when the day comes when he finally retires.

    As for me, as much as I'm not fond of my job, I can't beat my "commute" of a few feet from one computer to another. That keeps me at a job I would have left years ago if I had a long commute.


  2. That ferry is on my bucket list. :)

  3. it will be a mistake if you will not write a book Joe !
    you are so blessed with very inspiring way of expressions .
    i thank God that i did not miss your this amazing post who was a complete joy of the day THANK YOU FOR THIS!
    i once witnessed a couple while travelling in train who missed their stop and it was not pleasant at all because their stop was coming in the timing of 3am and it is quite hard to keep awaking such times [though i traveled alot in trains but never be able to sleep in nights unlike my all family members]

    i loved the view you had through your apartment ,specially watching ferries floating in water is surly delightful view .
    i can imagine how much you miss your ferry journey everyday as it was so pleasant and nice .
    Memories are the treasure and how kind the God is that no one is able to steal them.

  4. Sounds like an idyllic commute Joe, you were very lucky. I've only ever had to either walk or cycle to work and, occasionally get the train if I had to go to a different office.

  5. I went on that ride YES! Wonderful. You could have been on the same ferry. Our trains were fine in the UK. People palled up so that the journey was never boring. It was better than the rest of the day at work!

  6. Public transportation basically doesn't exist around here. It's the car or walk.

  7. For twenty years my commute was to walk to the studio at the other end of the house. That was on weekdays. Come Friday I packed the van and made up to an eight hour drive to a weekend art show. I guess it all evened outl

  8. Of course, even the most enjoyable commute ends badly when you walk through the doors at work lol.

  9. Being an avid boater I can relate to the ferry ride. I've ridden a few in San Francisco. Very pleasant way to travel. Sure beats the streets and bridges.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  10. I used to take two buses to work. The first one a local, and then I'd transfer to another making the trip to downtown Baltimore. The bus rides themselves weren't bad, but the standing-on-the-corner waits were sometimes way too long, especially in bad weather.

    But going to work on a ferry? Being out there on the water every morning? That had to have been the best! (Was fishing allowed...?)

  11. I was feeling badly for you having to drive 20 minutes only to then take a nightmare train ride. Now that boat ride however sounded delightful and the price sure was right. What a way to start a day.

  12. I've ridden the commuter trains in Chicago from time to time, when visiting family. Wasn't unpleasant, but then, I wasn't doing it every day, either. . .

    But I can definitely vouch for the 'live east of where you work' rule. I commute ~80mi one way, and work is east of home. There are a couple times during the year when it's straight into the sun, both ways. Brutal.

  13. DH drives about 1 1/4 hr. to work. There is no public transportation in our area, if there was, he would sleep.
    The last ferry in our parts was the one connecting a road across the Tennessee River in Clifton. They did build a bridge, which didn't work, and then they built another one that works fine.

  14. When I had a studio downtown I took the bus to work and loved it. Parking downtown is expensive, and I like the quiet time on the bus.

  15. Except for the 20 minute, anxiety ridden because I was late Drive to the train station, I miss my commute along the Main line train into Philadelphia. The train station had the best coffee shop and we had a nice group of commuters to have coffee talk and company during the ride. There was comraderie amongst us commuters. And I always got a good nap on my way to and from work.

  16. Around here, the busses are awful so most people drive. The traffic is the worst for any area of this size in the US. Getting to work is the worst part of most jobs.

  17. Public transportation is limited around here - you either drive or you don't leave the house. I've always driven to work by car, but I commuted to high school on a train. Great for doing homework!

  18. Such an exotic commute, compared to me driving an hour each way for many years. At least I lived east of the job!