Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey
Now three weeks into my new job and new city, some semblance of routine is finally asserting itself, although I don't know that I'll ever get accustomed to waking up at four a.m. Still, the new opportunities are exciting and the future looks like a thrill ride waiting to happen.
I've already written about the dynamics of my commute, so I won't bore anyone with more details about that. But one thing that I've discovered in my two-hour car-train-subway-bus journey is that I have time now to think. A mass-transit commute provides that, since sitting there waiting for the next stop is essentially empty time anyway. I do listen to music some times, but I find more and more that the best way to spend those hours is to gaze out the window and let my mind wander in whatever direction it desires. For a writer, these are truly precious hours.
I love the train most of all. It's less crowded, quieter and more contemplative. The landscape glides by the windows, sights of cities, towns, and back yards. A house will flash into my view, all lit up in the late autumn darkness. Inside, I catch a snapshot of someone else's life. A family sitting down to dinner, or just in front of the TV. One evening, I saw in a family room a pile of intertwined humanity engaged in a game of Twister. I smile, knowing that I am also headed to a place where love glows and I am embraced by the unbreakable bonds of family. There have been too many other nights when I was traveling for work, feeling lonely, and wishing that one of those lighted windows belonged to me.