Today was a big milestone for me. It is the first time since probably May that I have taken public transportation (in this case the Brown Line) both to and from work. Until Sunday, I lived close enough to my office that I could walk or (through November) ride my bike. There were days were I might grab the bus home or take it to work, but never both ways. It was a nice luxury.
I also had the luxury of getting a ride to/from work most days from Richard. That's been a sweet gig.
But now that we're up in Lakeview, and because it is winter, I need to take the bus or train each way. And (as of yet) I'm not complaining; it may seem weird, but I enjoy the walk to the station, the crowds, the waiting in line -- it makes me feel like I am a part of something. It is an experience that most Chicagoans share that up to now I've not related to, sorta like the person who misses their high school prom.
A few years ago when I first moved from Portland to DC I went from working in a big office (300 people) to a small one (3), having lots of friends to having almost none. There was talk of me working from a home office which I think would have been lonely and disastrous. For those first few weeks, the only time I was surrounded by people is when I'd take the Metro to/from work. And again, I enjoyed it because it made me feel part of a bigger machine, and there's comfort in that. Without it, I would have been a social outcast, a hermit.
I hope to begin riding my bike again in April. But until then I'll be joining the ranks of morning and evening commuters, reading the Red Eye, listening to my iPod, cramming for a small little square among the rush hour crowd on the Brown Line train. I say Bring It On; I'm ready to go to the big dance.