Commuting and Transit

The last draft I meant to post still includes notes about interviewing and landing a new job. So to sum up, since I am not backtracking, I landed a tech writing contract job that started 3.5 weeks ago and will last at least five months and possibly to the end of the year. The odd caveat? It is in a high rise downtown.

I am in constant awe that I can use public transit for my new job. I have always avoided “downtown-downtown” because, downtown…. But it turns out that the ONLY hub that is served by southern California’s public transit options is Downtown.

There is a Commuter Express bus that runs from the end of the driveway where I live to just 2-3 blocks from my building for work. For $4.25, someone else will deal with downtown traffic, either rush hours, and all the nasty traffic in the surrounding areas. I can sit back, close my eyes and nap, or just catch up on twitter or Facebook, reading a book, or working on hand crafting projects. I’ve converted from using a purse to using my laptop bag so that I can also do personal computer tasks on my lunch hour. And I pack a breakfast, lunch, and snack the night before, all carried in a canvas bag along with a blanket and a shawl for the excessive AC on the bus.

In the afternoon while waiting for my return trip bus, I also noticed a wide variety of other far-flung destinations on other commuter buses that drive by in downtown. This got me thinking: Maybe I could continue to save money by commuting but use the buses and trains to go places in the evening. So I started with a grand experiment to visit friends in the next county on Tuesday night.

It turns out my bus drops me off next to a subway station. A quick hop on the subway takes me to Union Station. Then a simple train ride takes me to the next county, where my friends picked me up and hosted me for the night. We caught up on *months* of the latest news in our lives, crafting plans, and making project plans. I caught up on dozens of computer tasks while chatting. And we enjoyed a homemade lamb stew that was outstanding. Everyone went to sleep, everyone did their morning routines, they made an excess of coffee for me, and brought me right back to the train station. And now I am being whisked back downtown, ready for work again.

Obviously I won’t always want to stay away from home on a weekday. But now I know I have the *option* to avoid traffic *and* save money. It’s not just the gas and car maintenance. Parking in my downtown high-rise costs $9/day. The round trip bus is $8.50 and no gas. And lots of relaxing. And now I know that the grand experiment worked. So I can continue to commute on public transit AND go visiting on a weeknight.

All it takes is a couch to sleep on, a shower in the AM, and a source of coffee.

Commuting bags and coffee

That’s all I need to spend a night in the road and still go to work: Laptop/purse, overnight bag condensed into a canvas tote, and an excess of coffee.>