With each new office location comes a new commute. I travel on new roads, see new people, new buildings, new traffic jams. Call it “street theater.” In general, my commute is by bike. Sometimes, it is by bus. Sometimes by car.
By now, you all know that my working life as a gypsy is radically different than the rest of you. Strike that. You all know that my working life as a gypsy is radically better than the rest of yours. You are envious, and you should be: Being a gypsy rules. That said, now begins my rant that is exactly the same as everybody else’s rant:
Commuting by car is a genuine pain in the ass. If our work location does not have parking, commuting by car is beyond a pain in the ass. I’ve gotten more parking tickets over the last year then the rest of my life combined. It’s hard to stay on top of moving your car if you have to do it every two hours. It’s guaranteed a client will call right when I’m supposed to step out and move the car. Hence, I’ve got a lot of free paperwork from lovely Rita. Blech.
Commuting by bike is simply much better. Sometimes, if I’m scared of the pouring rain, I’ll ditch the bike and hop on the bus. (Though this is only marginally better than driving.) I prefer the bike to all. Personally my favorite days are when me and my lady both are riding our bikes to work and the car sits in the driveway. There’s a large element of self-satisfaction in that.
First things first: You can go ahead and wipe that picture out of your brain – I wear plenty of Spandex, but not for biking. I’m not up on bike technology, neither in the clothes I wear, nor the bike I ride. My bike is the one I bought my freshman year of college. Aboard my ride, I’ll just wear the day clothes – roll up the pants leg and go. It does make for some sweaty arrivals, but people are generally forgiving if they realize you rode your bike there. It helps to have helmet-hair – and your helmet swinging from your bag.
On my bike, some commutes are easier than others. Currently it’s uphill both ways. Really. I live in Magnolia, on the top of the hill, and we’re working on top of Capitol Hill. My commute always ends with an uphill push no matter if I’m coming or going. Admittedly, there are a number of days when that’s sucked, a few where I’ve decided to walk my bike like a wuss, and a number of days where I’ve had to strip just inside the front door because I’m soaked head-to-toe (sweat or rain, depending on the day) dripping puddles.
My backpack is always heavy. The roaming laptop is with me at all times. It’s like an anchor.
Let’s be clear: I’m a commuter, not a biker. I don’t ride on weekends for fun or exercise, it’s simply a ride from point A to point B. Exercise is for losers. If there is more than one way to get from A to B, I’ll take alternative roads. And given that I’m a gypsy, I can relish the fact that I’ll have an entirely new route every two moths or so.
That’s why this is such great street theater.
I learn who’s building what, and where, in the city. I know where the homeless folks gather to talk. I know by the length of the drive-thru lines where the Starbucks customers are most laziest. I know where the bus drivers stop to take a pee. I know where the cops linger in their cars, doing who-knows-what.
In short, I think I know the city better than ever – even if I am getting lapped by those cursed fixed-gear biking girl scouts.