There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Friday, March 30, 2007

Scheduled departure

Fridays are mean. The tide of work floods, never ebbing. Before I started relying on Sacramento Regional Transit I would find myself underwater.

I get to work before 10 a.m. each day. How much before depends on which train I catch. But I'm never later than 10, even when I get off at 29th Street and walk the eight blocks to work. I'm finding that walk to be a wonderful start to the day before I'm locked up in an office.

On a good day, I walk out of the office at 6:05 p.m. to catch the Folsom-bound train. On an average day I leave at 6:35 p.m. to catch the next Folsom-bound train. This schedule is ideal because the 82 bus is either waiting when the train arrives at the 65th Street station or arrives soon after.

Friday's are hell, though. The 7:05 p.m. train is the last one that will align perfectly with the 82 bus. Keeping that fact in mind works wonders for keeping me focused.

At about 6 p.m. tonight I realized that things weren't looking good. I had a lot to do and it was all the sort of stuff that just takes time. There are no shortcuts. By 6:20 I was getting worried.

Before I started taking the train and bus to work I would often find myself giving up, surrendering to the inevitability of the pressure. I would leave an hour or more late. The "freedom" to set my own departure time left me "free" to let the job push me around.

Tonight I realized just how useful it is to have that 7:05 p.m. deadline to lean against in order to push back against the tide. By 6:40 p.m. I was focused entirely on getting everything done. There were no distractions. I plodded methodically through the menial details that fill the end of my workday, and when I finished I even had a couple of "free" minutes to take care of some chores that will make Monday a bit easier.

I left my office at 7:05 p.m. My back ached from the job strain (and my chronic bad posture), but it was such a relief to stroll the two blocks to the 23rd Street light rail station. Later, reading my book on the bus ride home, I was thankful for having given up the "freedom" of driving myself to and from work.

No comments: