When I moved to the “big city” things shifted into high gear. If you weren’t speed walking down the streets, you were considered a slow-moving obstacle by the hordes of commuters flowing through the downtown core.
And it didn’t take long before I fell in with the herd.
Moving to the city meant I could no longer nap in the passenger seat of my dad’s commuter bus for one. It was time that I made my own way.
I bend my knees, get my elbows out just in case a less-advanced subway surfer comes flying my way and off I go, tipping and swaying all the way to the office with moves rivaling that chick from Blue Crush.
I learned the short cuts to my school, work and home, zipping in and out of underground pathways, hopping on and off subways, streetcars and buses, and dodging confused tourists to get to my destination in record time. If the city was a relay course, I was on track to compete for the gold by July.
Every morning, at the same time, I am at the same subway platform, silently standing by the same people: the smartly dressed business woman who makes me question my wardrobe choices, the tall business man wearing sunglasses to hide the fact that he can barely keep his eyes open, and the family of out-of-towners that is seriously wondering why they picked peak commute times to head into the city.
When an entire city is trying to get to work for 9 a.m., the tin subway cars start to resemble sardine cans. There’s no room to be shy; in fact, there’s no room for much of anything. With so many people crammed in to so little space, I learned early on not rely on getting a handrail let alone a seat on my way to work. Instead, I developed my own survival tactic.
When the subway doors open, I wrestle my way in, find a spot and sink into my subway stance – a technique I devised to keep from hurtling down the cart every time it came to a stop (although, the training process admittedly did have a couple casualties). I bend my knees, get my elbows out just in case a less-advanced subway surfer comes flying my way and off I go, tipping and swaying all the way to the office with moves rivaling that chick from Blue Crush.
Everyone in the wave of people is on their way to somewhere, but I think it’s time that we slow down and appreciate how we get there.
Afterall, they say it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters. And my journey begins with my way to work.
How do you cope with a crowded commute? Let us know in the comments below!