It’s been a long time since I did one of these posts! During the winter, I’m all cooped up inside, eager for new projects and creative outlets. But when spring finally rolls around, I can’t even seem to get basic chores done. There are just so many distractions! Laundry or walk around the city for a couple of hours? Walk. Clean the apartment or go to a comedy show? Comedy show. Line up blog posts or meet up with friends? Friends. You get the point. ;) Gotta make up for lost time…
Anyway, I’ve been meaning to answer a particular question–“What’s your average day like?”–for a while now. Blogging helps me identify and appreciate the wonderful parts of life that often go unnoticed, and this is part of the reason I love it so much. But sometimes I inadvertently paint a picture of my life in New York City as being absolutely fabulous all the time. Don’t get me wrong: there are parts of it that I do find to be absolutely fabulous. At the same time, though, there are parts that are really irritating and frustrating, and not so glamorous at all.
Let’s start with my morning commute. I should point out that I now live in Hoboken. I lost my East Village place when Stuyvesant Town discovered that I was illegally subletting, and the next thing I knew, I was across the Hudson River. (Less expensive and a bit easier to find an apartment within 48 hours.) Hoboken is amazing–it’s seriously one of the coolest places I’ve ever lived–but unfortunately, it’s really far from the Bronx, where I teach. And with that…
6:00 am: Alarm goes off, and Mitch and I scramble to make it out the door on time. There are showers to take, coffee to make, and bags to pack. (When you live across the Hudson River, you need to make sure you take along everything you could possibly need in a day. Going back for something is simply not an option.) Some days are better than others. Sometimes, we’re bright and cheery. Other times, we’re overwhelmed and downright grumpy.
7:00 am: Out the door. We walk a couple of blocks to catch the 126 bus to Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street in Manhattan. We chase that stinkin’ bus down the street all the time–whether we leave early, on time, or late, haha. And then there are the days when it just doesn’t come. #stress (We both have an 8:20 am deadline, and 32 kids each waiting at our classroom doors… so being late is really not an option.)
7:15 am: We’re hopefully on the bus by now, on our way into Manhattan. The bus ride only takes between 10 and 15 minutes from our apartment, so it’s not that bad. (We can also take the PATH train, which is the train that links up with NYC’s subway system, but that takes a little longer.) My biggest stressor at this point is balancing my bags and coffee. (I can’t even tell you how often I spill it into my lap! Buy it when I get into Manhattan instead? Never.) Oh–and if it’s raining, I’m completely drenched by now. (Cross your fingers that I’ve packed a change of clothes in my giant tote. Today, I did–which is why I’m clad in flip-flops and leggings.)
7:20 – 7:30 am: Arrive at Port Authority/42nd Street. Ahhhhhh! MAD SCRAMBLE. If you’ve never been to the Port Authority, it’s awful. Ugh. Way too many people, most of whom are irritable and in a rush. Lots of–how do I put this nicely?–interesting characters wandering about, too. Once we get out of the terminal, we make our way/fight our way across Times Square to the 1,2,3 subway line. There, we wait anywhere between five and 15 minutes for the 2 train, which takes us to the South Bronx. At this point, I have coffee dripping down my arm. (For the life of me, I can’t keep it in the cup.) On a good day, we get seats. Most days, though, we’re squished up against sweaty humans who have apparently never heard of deodorant. Gag. Mitch tends to listen to audio books and podcasts while we ride, and I opt for tunes.
8:00 – 8:10 am: As long as there aren’t any subway delays, we arrive in the Bronx. (If there are delays, we frantically try to get cell service so we can text our Assistant Principal and let him know what’s going on.) We work near a major shopping district, so the area is super busy. Once we get a block or so from the subway exit, though, we’re in the clear. We have a few blocks to walk, and we try our best to not dwell on the chaos that will soon greet us at school. We try to talk about calming things–what we’ll do after work, what we’re planning for the weekend, or whatever we read or listened to on the subway–and if we have time, we sometimes refill our coffees at a local bodega or breakfast cart.
8:15 – 8:20 am: Arrive at school. Phew.
See? Told you. Not so glam. ;) What’s your morning commute like? How do you make it bearable?
(Next chapter: the workday)