A Commuter’s Odyssey: Why My Commute is Worse Than Yours


Published: November 15, 2007

I awake at 6:45 a.m., thanks to a symphony of alarms—my CD player, cell phone and old fashioned alarm clock. I look out my window. It’s still dark out. I hit the snooze for a few extra minutes of shut-eye, but turn on my lamp to ensure that I don’t fall into a deep sleep.

En route to the Long Beach station of the Long Island Rail Road, I stop at a gas station for my drug of choice—those roasted ground Colombian beans. The prior day, I earned the final stamp on the card that grants me a free hot drink, after having bought six others. As a commuter I try to cut corners whenever possible when it comes to food and drink, and even though my brew only costs $1.50, something about this cup of coffee being free makes it taste… just a little bit better than usual.

The love affair with my coffee lasts about as long as a Hollywood romance. I generously move aside to let another gentlemen squeeze by to get to a vacant seat on the train. He bolts by, knocking my cup over on its side. He says, “Let me get out of here,” and the wuss changes cars!

I don’t want anything from him. I don’t ask for compensation, an apology, or even assistance cleaning it up. I feel, at the very least, this man should acknowledge that he’s a jerk.

I try to contain the spill with napkins, but the motion of the train causes it to spread in all directions. I cringe at the thought of having to take the blame when it sticks to everyone else’s shoes, all because  this stranger is a really bad person.

I get into Penn Station, and choose to be bait in the traveling human petting zoo—also commonly known as the 1 train —over the human pinball game that  goes along with traveling to FCLC by foot.

Finally, I trek to my 10 a.m. class only to learn it’s cancelled. After a commute of one hour and twenty-two minutes, one-way, I stand stunned. I have no other classes on this day. If that’s not bad enough, I must listen to a fellow classmate in her jammies whine that she came all the way from the McMahon Hall dorms for nothing. Poor thing.