If there is one thing I have not missed since my fulltime return to office in October it is the daily commute. Door to door, it is an hour and fifteen minutes in the morning; then an hour and a half in the evenings. And that is if it is a straight run, meaning no sick passenger, some idiot somehow running amok in the tunnels, train suddenly going out of service, standard delays, and a host of other things that are the bane of daily commuting. Especially in the evenings when I hit the height of rush hour where a two-hour run happens at least once a week.
And this was my norm pre-Covid.
Some reports say the trains are less crowded. That more people have chosen to drive their cars in order to avoid as much human contact as possible. That may be true, but I don’t see it, and the huddled masses packed into the trains each day would certainly disagree. After all, less crowded is still crowded. But now it’s crowded in a confined space where it’s a pure leap of faith, and for many the pure need of a paycheck, that the masked people around you are in fact vaccinated and not asymptomatic carriers breathing in the same enclosed space.
There are only two major changes that I can see:
- Nearly everyone now wears a mask, including the homeless.
- And nearly everyone seems to have a shorter fuse these days.
Still, I don’t have a problem with going to work. I am just a few very short years from retirement. And after close to a year and a half of remote working, the nearly three hours lost each day to my commute is grating my patience.
I found myself once again explaining “’cides” to a someone who asked for directions when our train went out of service this morning. She was standing considerably less than six feet away from a friend and I, and without a mask. My friend politely asked her to mask up. She did not want to.
Me (snarky to my friend): Then don’t give directions to a murder/suicide.
Woman (angrily): What fuck, I ain’t got nothing.
Friend: When’s the last time you were tested. We don’t know what you might have picked up a couple of days ago that’s can get us sick now.
Woman: Please I’m vaccinated.
Me. Vaccination doesn’t mean you won’t get covid. It only means if you contract it, you’re highly less likely to die from its complications. And you can still be asymptomatic and spread it.
Friend: Your masking up ain’t about protecting us from you, it’s about protecting yourself from us.
Me: If you knowingly refuse to mask up to protect us from anything you make have potentially contracted today that’s homicide. If you refuse to wear a mask to potentially protect yourself from anything we have contracted that’s suicide. We’re not down with either ‘cide. So, mask the fuck up or back the fuck up, or better yet, do both ‘cause we know how to get where we’re going.
We started to walk away to change trains. As I said we knew how to get where we where going. The woman put on her mask and we helped her out.
No, I don’t have a problem with going to work. I’m fine once I get there.
I just have a problem with going to work.
And it’s a little disconcerting to realize that short fuse I talked about sometimes includes my own.
Slice of Life – Tuesda/y Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers
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