So now I’m a train commuter. It became official yesterday evening when I stepped off the Northeast Corridor local, stepped up to the NJ Transit ticket window and bought a monthly rail pass for May.
The whole thing started a couple of weeks ago when the valiant Subaru developed transmission trouble and I had to decide if I wanted to plow another several hundred dollars (at least!) into a road-weary vehicle with over 222,000 miles on it. I started training up to Hoboken, and was startled by how simple and effective it is to take the connection through the Secaucus station. This morning the Subaru was towed off to charity heaven. Great car, but a decade-plus of rush hour driving is going to have its effect on any brand.
Most importantly, I feel like I’ve gotten two hours or so of my life back. Even with a CD player to calm the savage beast, the morning and evening drives home absolutely sucked. Now I can read, listen to the iPod or just alpha-wave it staring out the window. Much better than hating life for two hours a day. I’m convinced that a measurable number of my gray hairs are attributable to years of dealing with motorized commuter suicide commandos on the Turnpike, or doing the red tail-light boogie in miles-long traffic jams.
Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune when the summer heat comes on strong and those NJ Transit railcars turn into rolling sweatboxes, but right now this is the better way to live.