Thursday, October 22, 2009

An Inconvenient Deuce

The life of a long distance commuter is all about timing. Here's an example of how my morning usually goes...
Alarm goes off at 6am. I hit the snooze a couple of times. Out of bed by 6:20. Wake the kids, make coffee, wake the kids again, shower, floss, brush, dress for work, match tie to shirt, match socks to pants (usually in the dark), take the kids to the bus stop to catch the effing ungodly 7:05 am bus, back home to grab all my stuff, answer an email, kiss my wife, pet the dog (important to do it in that order), drive to the train station, grab an egginabag and another coffee, catch the 8:05 peaker, arrive at Grand Central by 9:10-ish, walk across town and finally plunk my ass down in my trendy ergonomically correct Aeron chair by 9:30am. This leaves me a half hour to unpack my shit, plug in my laptop, print out my schedule, go through the 50 emails that I didnt answer yesterday and get to my daily 10am meeting. It's a tightly planned morning that doesnt have a whole lot of wiggle room in it, and so here's the problem. Somewhere in this frantic 4 hour window, I have to find a little ME time to do my bidness.

You see, this blog is about life, not some Disney channel laugh track retouched version of life, but the real deal, and having set those parameters, and out of respect for the intelligence of my readers, I really have no choice but to discuss the true indignities that come along with this lifestyle. The simple fact is, that at some point during those non stop, hectic 4 hours between 6am and 10am, I have to drop a deuce.

Now usually, if life is drudging along and the days are falling endlessly into eachother like a row of dominoes layed out in, say, a death spiral pattern, I'm in a pretty good rhythm. I wake up, get the coffee, wake the kids, maybe grab a bowl of shredded wheat or grape nuts, and boom. There you have it. Done and done. Time to move on. But every once in a while, like when it's time to set the clocks back, or if I skip dinner, or if I changed the order I put my socks on, or if earth's rotation around the sun alters its course by more than a thousandth of a degree, I can get knocked off that rhythym, and that's not good.

When that happens, my morning can go something like this:
Alarm goes off at 6am. Out of bed by 6:20. Wake the kids, make coffee. Huh, nothing yet.
Shower, floss, brush, dress for work. Hmmm. Still nada.
Take the kids to the bus, back home to grab all my stuff, answer an email, kiss my wife, pet the dog, and then...uh, oh.

And it's at this point that I have two very unenviable options. I can drop my bag, heed the call and miss my train, therefore probably missing that meeting that a bunch of people in nice work clothes will be expecting me in. Or, I can use the facilities on the train, and here's why that second option is just never ever going to happen. You see, about a year ago, I actually did decide to use the train bathroom, not for a full on sit down, but for a number one moment. And as I was standing in the bathroom, doing my thing, the train came to a stop, and when the train came to a stop, the sliding door of the bathroom that I was positive I had locked, rolled open. And so there I was, in full view of a very appreciative audience who, even though they hadn't put a dollar into a slot, nonetheless had the door slide open for a little Times Square style show.

And so given those two options, whenever I'm faced with the inconvenient deuce and I have to make that choice...well, those people in that meeting can just wait.

Monday, October 19, 2009


For the commuter on the go!
I was standing on the platform one morning waiting for the 7:35 when I ran into my buddy Tripp (Tripp, by the way, is the perfect name for a buddy. Who doesn't like a guy named Tripp?). I noticed that Tripp was eating a hardboiled egg while he waited for the train. I was puzzled by this. Did Tripp actually boil an egg this morning, and then rather than eat it at home, he'd carefully packed it in a ziplock and carried it to the train, only to eat it on the platform? Did he prefer dining al fresco? So I asked him. "Did you bring enough of those for the whole class?".

Turns out he just had the one, and it also turns out that he did not make it himself, but rather he bought it at the train station coffee shop. The woman who runs the shop sells them for 50 cents a piece. Genius.

So the next day, along with my french roast, I got myself an egginabag. The woman who runs the shop told me that there were a steady and slowly growing group of commuters who were buying the eggs. She keeps a set of squeeze handle salt and pepper shakers next to the basket of eggs so that we may season to taste. De-lish.

She also informed me that she keeps the low fat milk under the counter in the mini fridge rather than on display with the regular milk and the half and half. Just not enough room for all three milk products on the counter so the low fat got the short shrift. Whaddyaknow. So now I love walking in to the shop like a pro, pouring my regular cup and reaching for the mini fridge milk, like I just woke up and came down for breakfast. And every once in a while (not everyday cuz of the cholesterol my doctor tells me), I loves grabbing me an egginabag.