An unexpected hold-over from my days on British Isles – I don’t use a car on my commute. We now live only about a mile away from the nearest commuter bus stop. So I walk.
My stop is one of the major ones on the same service that I used to take years ago when we first moved into the area. In the morning, I can get onto a waiting empty bus, and in the evening, I can catch express service with the first stop where I need to get off. There are also making-all-stops buses to be used as an alternative. Fairly convenient, reasonably frequent, does not take much longer than a train would, fares are cheaper than on the rail service. Plus, I don’t have to worry about parking.
Wake up at 6:15, get out of the door at 6:46, get on the waiting bus at 7:03. Same driver every day, with his priorities – to get customers to the destination as quickly as possible – firmly in order. In the office around 8:30-8:35. Two twenty-minute walks at each end of an hour-plus bus journey. Roughly the same commute duration that I always had while living in Jersey.
The walk on the “home” side is pleasant enough, along quiet leafy streets. There are uninterrupted sidewalks, but I am the only pedestrian on them most of the time. I pass people walking their dogs occasionally, and a group of girls of high-school age waiting for their school bus in the morning, but nobody else seems to be making a similar walk to the bus stop. No more than a dozen cars drive by those streets while I’m on my way.
In the evening, with minimal lighting coming from nearby houses and sparse street-lamps, the walk is a bit eerie… The other night, a guy came out of a house to check for something in his car parked near the sidewalk. He did not notice me until I was practically next to him. He was startled to a point of cowering and raising his hands as if to protect himself from an attack. Then he realized that I was just passing by. I said, “Sorry, man, I did not mean to startle you”. He laughed nervously, and sheepishly said something along the lines of “nobody walks here, ever”…
Natasha can drive me to the stop and get back home within a space of five minutes. There’s always that when the weather turns bad.