To Brad, Mel, and Alex,

Last night was my first true experience commuting in a brutal winter. I left my teaching placement at 3:15 and thoroughly enjoyed the snowfall as I walked the few minutes to the bus stop. Ten minutes later I was on the Mississauga city bus, bound for Square One. Perfect, I’ll get to Square One at 4, take a quick browse at Chapters and take the 4:20 GO bus, be home by 5:30 and go out for trivia night at 8!

How naïve I was.

Having arrived at Square One at 4:20, I figured that if the city bus was running late that the GO bus would be just as late. I browsed Chapters anyways, and shuffled over to the bus stop at 4:40. 20/20 hindsight: I could’ve stayed in Chapters all night and still made the bus.

4:55. My toes, though.

5:02 A BUS! Going to McMaster. Dare I? No one else is. I’ll wait.

5:08. The cold just killed my phone. 

5:15. Should I take this bus going to the Oakville Carpool Lot and just figure it out from there? But my car isn’t even at the Burlington GO Station…

5:22. I can’t feel my feet.

I’m the type of person to strike up a conversation with random strangers if I know we all have the same thing on our minds. Meeting new people is something that’s very important to me; I never want to miss out on the potential of good conversation.

But I was not in any kind of mood.

5:26. “You look cold!”

Yeah, thanks for noticing.

But everyone’s attention was drawn to the guy who had clearly been here longer than any of us, and looked miserable. He was wearing a sweatshirt and shoes that were extremely non-waterproof, but at least he had gloves on. His name turned out to be Brad.

“Well, I’ve been here since 4:10…”

“Man, I just got here! I guess I can’t complain!”

No, you can’t.

“No, you can’t. I’ve been here since 4:30!”

Girl, you took the words right out of my mouth. Her name turned out to be Mel.

But it’s all thanks to the guy who can’t complain, whose name turned out to be Alex, that we got to talking (nay, complaining). Coincidentally, we all had mutual friends since we all went to high school in Burlington. We collectively decided that the 4:20 bus was just never going to come, so we decided to take the next the next bus going anywhere and figure it out from there. It was the 19 to Oakville GO, leaving Square One at 6:00 and getting us there just in time to catch the delayed train to Burlington at 7:30. Eventually, we made it home.

So, to Brad, who didn’t say much but was quick to correct Alex on that our “meaningless conversation” was certainly not meaningless at all, don’t be embarrassed that your mom came and found you on the platform instead of waiting in her car. That’s what moms are here for.

To Mel, the outspoken marketing student with the most amazing hair EVER, I hope the Wendy’s meal you picked up on the way home was as amazing as I’d imagine it would be. Keep doing you, girl, and thanks again for letting me charge my phone in your laptop.

To Alex, the self-proclaimed introvert (“I mean, I’m a computer tech for god’s sake!”) who took pride in starting the conversation so he could meet new people, the world needs more people like you. You’re on a good path. Oh, and I hope you’re not hurting too much after falling into the snow while running to your Dad’s car.

And to all three of you, I’ll see you on the bus next week. I guess this is the start of something cool, but I’ll definitely never forget the value of meeting you all (and sharing a bag of peanuts with you) last night.

GO Transit chronicles, pt. 1

8:57pm on a Sunday night: dreading the thought of a 5:55am alarm the following morning to get to an 8:30 class on time. A 15-minute drive and an hour and a half GO bus ride will separate me from the warm coziness I find between my sheets and the harsh reality of forgetting to print off the bibliography for my paper due in the morning.

I’ll be honest, living at home is pretty great. Mostly because there’s a fully-stocked fridge. Kind of because I like living with my parents. But mostly because of the food.

Tomorrow I begin week five of my new life as a commuter student, travelling from Burlington to either Glendon or York three days a week and my teaching placement in Etobicoke one day a week. All of these journeys take me two hours each way which is a big jump from my 30-second saunter to class during my three years living in residence, but there’s nothing I can do but make the best of it. Some of my amateur tips:

Sleep. Just shut your eyes and pretend you’re back in the warm coziness of your bed. Empty seat beside you? Fetal position.

Read. As liberal arts majors, Glendon students have a $%*# load of reading to do each and every week. Before you cry yourself into an oblivion where reading doesn’t exist, remember that your commute affords you the opportunity to read. A lot.

Write or draw, if you’re not fighting over the armrest during a busy rush. But elbow fights can be fun for many. Give it a shot.

Be a music connoisseur. Take the time every weekend to put some new music onto your iPod so that you’ll be entertained for the week ahead! But for the love of God, DO NOT FORGET YOUR HEADPHONES!!!!!

People-watch. *Oh god she just looked me in the eye look away ASAP so it doesn’t seem like I was staring right at her face* —It’s happened to all of us; don’t lie.

Gulp down a grande non-fat latte. I told myself until about a month ago that I would never ever in my entire life rely on coffee to keep me awake. HA!

So, to conclude, commuting has its ups and downs. So far for me it’s been a huge learning process; I’ve had to learn to prioritize my time in a way that I’ve never had to before. I’ve also found myself to be more productive than ever before. Hooray for my procrastination habits [kind of] circling the drain!

Stay tuned for partie deux; because you know I’ll have more transit stories to share! À bientôt. 🙂

Mike, Viva and YRT veteran, posted about his commute last week. I’ll be honest, I’ve never committed myself to a podcast but I’m going to be sure to subscribe to a couple tonight! Maybe that 5:55 alarm won’t be so bad after all.