I have a four hour commute every day – two hours each way. A majority of my commute is on public transportation. This is not a commute I love but, for now, it is what I have.
In my daily travels I see a lot of unhappy commuters and I feel for them. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the negative side of public transit and for some people it is VERY hard to have to interact with so many people all the time. I am one of those people, so believe me, I understand. Being around other people, especially strangers, is draining for me. Sometimes I find myself snipping at Tony or snipping at the folks I work with after a particularly bad commuting trip. By and large though, I’ve gotten used to spending four hours of every day with 10,000 of my “closest friends”.
My trick? Something I call public telenovelas. Actually, my go-to solution is to sleep. When sleeping isn’t an option though, I go to my public telenovelas. I think a lot of folks have watched telenovelas (a.k.a “soaps”) but if you haven’t, they are basically shows that are character dramas. You have a core group of characters who play out a story line. There are dips and bumps along the way that are always dramatic. Well, it turns out public transportation is just as dramatic. If you don’t see it… just apply a liberal dose of imagination and I’m sure you’ll star to see what I’m talking about.
This week’s notable telenovela was about a twilight relationship (as in the retirement years, not the vampire saga). The main characters are an older man, his lady friend, and their respective families. Already there is great set up for drama. In this week’s episode the man is surprising the woman by meeting her in the city for a picnic. What will happen? Will something go wrong? Will there be a dog involved or perhaps an angry cab driver? Nobody knows! Honestly though, nobody knows because this story isn’t real. It’s merely a thought experiment. Something to work the brain muscles and practice good situational awareness. In reality the guy I sat next to on the bus the other day brought a picnic basket with him and had a nice pair of blue/green khaki pants on. Instead of grumping about being tired and cold I spent the trip wondering what adventures that picnic basket might be involved in. The end result? A much happier me at absolutely no cost to anyone else. So the next time you find yourself playing the waiting game, have some fun with it and build your own telenovela. I promise it will cheer you up. 🙂
Today I am thankful for: the kindness of friends.