notes from the commute

I traveled with my camera one day last week.

Get on the train HERE.


You would think, at eight in the morning, that this guy

trek pack

is just going to work, wouldn't you? But with this kind of equipment he might just be traveling uptown, climbing on a bus and heading north to a mountain region. And, ya know, about the whole carrying water thing? Why? I mean, yeah, this particular man may, in fact, be traveling somewhere where there is no fresh drinking water available. And I say this because he has a giant backpack with him. But it's just as likely that he's going to a cubicle somewhere to write code or something. Don't most workplaces have potable drinking water? Is that redundant? I just wanted to say potable.


Now, see, this guy is READY for work.

yellow coat

And take a look at this yellow wool coat, would ya? It's a man. He was pretty swell looking, sartorially speaking.

On the other hand -

pink coat

this nice lady with the walking stick, helped on and off the train by the fellow at the door in this picture, was wearing rosy pink! And had a shopping bag to match. Highly unusual in my dark-toned city.

little kids

The little kids board just after I get on. They often read picture books as they commute. I find that somewhat charming. It is very surprising to me to see kids on the train - especially at rush hour.
Also, that's a pretty cool coat and backpack in that shot. I hadn't noticed it when I was surreptitiously shooting the kids.

Time for my stop.
Walk to the top of the stairs, and, if I time it right, see this guy -


riding a small child on the front rail of his bicycle. It's a lovely thing to see and the city is still just a little quiet.
K has been with me up to this point (he's freelancing a few blocks away from me) and I stand on my toes and give him a good-morning kiss and walk down the street for my cafe.


The arrow points to an apartment where two little boys live. I know this because I was standing on the corner one evening before Christmas and saw two other little boys down on the street waving to them. They have bunk beds. I know this because I stood and watched.

Walk past this past place...

elect. supply

at which there is always something like this

hi lo

going on.

Past this -


construction which is HAMPERING my commute.

Past this place where there is ALWAYS something interesting going on -


A sample sale, a showing, a shopping extravaganza!


There are planters outside my building, which is good in case I'm sleepwalking and can't find my way to the door.
But first, I stop here -


for my decaf cafe au lait.

cafe int

How groovy is my cafe? David Carradine? PRETTY DAMN GROOVY, I'LL TELL YOU.

Out the door, walk 20 feet, up the elevator and we're at my desk.
That's what I see. That's the route.


Anonymous said…
Once again, I am FIRST.

I couldn't help but think of the opening of the Mary Tyler Moore Show when I read this post...

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Who can take a nothing day and make it all seem worth while?

Well, it's YOU GIRL and you should know it...


(Yes, I do believe you are.)
KPB said…
You know, was it really necessary to wear the hard hat ON the train?
I wonder.

Knowing those boys live in that glass box kinda made me sad.

Damn groovy cafe indeed.
Anonymous said…
Kids on a train in Tuvalu at rush hour. Strange indeed.
Lovely commute. The man/bicycle/baby is adorable.
Mary said…
I loved all of this.

All of it ... although like Kim I felt a little sorry for the boys in that glass castle.

They probably love it though..
Anonymous said…
That was quite lovely, thank you.
I'm always a little sad when the day length changes and I can't peer into people's homes on the commute home. I love to see little slices of life behind the lit windows.
Jess said…
I don't know, bb - my 1st grader's backpack is just as big as 'Traveling Man's' there, and he carries his own water bottle too...

What a great communte!

You take lovely pictures.
Anonymous said…
I love your posts like this.

Thank you.

Maybe there's something other than water in that bottle....

Do you have a silent mode on your camera? Or is it loud enough on the train no one knows you're taking pictures? Just curious!
That One said…
As someone who does not have the option of commuting by train, I really enjoyed seeing your journey! You're developing mad on-the-sly photography skillz -- you should approach Eurolush about a freelance position with her Detective agency.

Potable is a great word. I use it as often as I can.
Anonymous said…
This made me miss walking through a city--although the closest I ever came to such a fascinating commute was when I was in Madison for my degree. But I loved it--the people watching, the daily unfolding of life and events while I strolled past. Thanks, bb.
Geggie said…
I also carry a bottle of water with me in a fancy stainless steel bottle. I think it has something to do with the fact that I lived in Phoenix for 10 years and never wanted to get caught without water.
Anonymous said…
Thank you! How lovely to spend your commute with you.
Pretty Things said…
This is so cool -- one of my favorite of your blog entries!

My commute is down the stairs and to the office, sometimes without a shower, so it would rather dull. BUT I do go through the Starbucks drive through in pajamas!
Jennifer said…
This is a really neat post! Thanks for sharing your commute. I LOVE the photo angles.
Anonymous said…
It's a bit sad that the boys in the glass tower don't have their own yard to play in, but I think gazing out the window would be a good alternative to too much tv.

Saoirse said…
You're making me think of taking the bus to work, although here in CT, that would involve 3-4 transfers and take me at least an hour by bus when I can drive it in 15 minutes tops (only 5 miles away). My carbon footprint is HUGE! Just curious: how long of a walk do you have? A good way to start the day (specially with K)!
Jess said…
About the water bottle carrying thing - I'm guilty of that, and I may even have the same one as in the photo. I hate to use the little styrofoam cups at one job, and at the other job the tap water tastes gross. And I like to drink a lot of water.
Kathy Rogers said…
There's a blackbird at the start of your commute? How cool is that?