The Morning Commute
6:45 AM. A Monday. Lizzy opens up her small closet and reflects on her clothing options. 60 degrees can be flaky. Her brain begins to wake up: “It’s cold on my walk to the office, but at lunch time the sun might be out and it will get hot… Well it’s always freezing in the office. Just put on a dress already”. Her next thought process is similar when considering her options for the morning commute: “I can take the bus so I have a minute or two extra to get ready…but I have to have exactly $2.75… there’s always traffic…but the train runs late and it’s crowded…Just decide already.” It’s only the second week of her internship and she is still learning the ways in which Philadelphia may welcome her. Instead of making any decision, Lizzy reflects on that fact that she’s hungry. Hopping quietly downstairs to the kitchen, she considers her breakfast options. She opens the cool, damp fridge. “Damn, no eggs.”
7:55 AM. As soon as Lizzy opens the front door, the sweat begins. “It’s not even hot out today,” she thinks. Ready and willing for the day, she has decided to take the bus. After scraping every last quarter, nickel, and penny from her room in order to have exactly $2.75 for the bus, making her five minutes later than usual, she takes her first step outside. The air is warm. The sun smiles quietly on top of the blue sky. On her street she can see the main highway, I-76. The road looks crowded. Suddenly, the “Ants go marching” song pops into her head. “One by one…hurrah… hurrah” She’s on the move.
8:01 AM. Lizzy, walking north west towards Terrace street, wonders why her phone directions have provided her a bus stop farther away from the city. She continues up the hill. More sweat follows. “Why turn around now?”
8:21 AM. The 27 bus towards Philadelphia originally scheduled for 8:15 AM arrives six minutes late. Lizzy begins to walk in circles, refershing her Google Maps app. Simultaneously, the Google Maps app crashes.
8:23 AM. Finally on the bus, Lizzy squeezes kindly between two middle aged women. Unable to fully open her bag without bumping elbows with her adjacent neighbors, she looks around. The low hum of the bus clashes with the sound of the honking cars. Her neighbors are undisturbed. She realizes then, they are just one small little ant on this route. One of thousands, hundred of thousands, jammed packed on a singular highway. The ants, moving forward, constantly forward, in order to make meaning of this day. A bus full of black specks, unconscious to the scope of the ant hole.
8:45 AM. There is bumper to bumper traffic on I-76 towards Philadelphia. Lizzy and Bus 27, together, have fifteen minutes to get to Benjamin Franklin Parkway. In a panic, Lizzy writes an e-mail to her internship adviser that she will probably, most likely, wrongfully, apologetically, regretfully, repentantly, remorsefully be late.
8:47 AM. The email is sent. Dread sets in.
9:00 AM. Lizzy jumps off the bus at 15th and Cherry Street. She power walks to 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. So far, her pants have un-tucked, she’s crossed to the wrong side of the street, and she’s dropped her sunglasses. The sun beams down on her left cheek and although it’s hot, the feeling is comforting. Love Park looks especially charming in the sunlight with the spewing fountain and lush trees. On the benches are the homeless who have spent the night in the comfort of the park. For a minute, she thinks, “This must feel like home.”
The worries of her commute, she reflects, are so small. Just a speck in this giant world. Just a tiny ant in a giant hole.
“Is this” she wonders, “what everyday will soon be like? Ever day for the rest of my life, as a tiny soldier?” But before she has time to answer, she spots her office building.
9:03 AM. Lizzy reaches the front door of 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. She rushes up the steps to her cubicle, and looks around.
Rushing, panting, worrying, walking, running.
9:03 Am. Lizzy realizes her boss is late.