Three miles per hour.
That’s the average land speed attained during the homebound trek of the species Fattus Guyus Knippius. I’m sure you see 3 MPH and start wondering if I’ve been using a burro for my journey, and there are times when I am sure I’d be better off heading home in a wagon train than the lurching, crowded, smoke-belching behemoth called a NJ Transit bus. And I know, I know… millions of people have a much tougher commutes, drive hundreds of miles uphill both ways, blah, blah, blah… it’s just plain galling that even though I can see my town from the office, I could conceivably get home twenty minutes earlier by walking home. (That is, if I could walk on water).
Then again, if I could walk on water, I probably wouldn’t bother going into the office. I’d just go on world tour walking across random bodies of water, or make money by winning triathlons (or at least the water portions of triathlons…I’m pretty sure I can run faster than most people can swim). I wonder if you’re required to swim in a triathlon? Sorry, my short attention span strikes again.
In all fairness, my average speed is greatly reduced by the thirty or forty minutes I routinely spend not moving. The NJ Transit schedule relates to actual arrival times about as often as I pass up a free buffet, so fully half my commute is spent simply waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
It’s not just that the buses don’t even remotely adhere to a schedule. I think NJ Transit might be tracking me. If I show up early, the bus gets there 40 minutes late. If I show up on time, the bus rarely appears at all (probably because it came early) AND the bus that should follow shows up thirty minutes late. That bus, by the way, is always a local, which takes the long way through Camden and stops…on every…corner. On the plus side, riding that bus, which can take upwards of an hour, gives me ample opportunity to catch up on my reading, and as an added bonus, with just a little bit of eavesdropping on my fellow riders, I can discover new and creative ways to beat court-ordered drug testing.
Whenever this happens, I end up seething and swearing that I’m giving up on public transportation entirely. It takes me twenty minutes to drive to work in all but the worse traffic (which I’d be stuck in anyway). Really, at this point, the only thing holding me back is the cost of parking. The more often I wait, and the older I get, the more those 250 hours per year I’m losing are worth. After all, each hour is an hour I could spend hanging with the kids, or writing, or simply staring at (or more accurately, looking for) my navel.
So now, I spend time day dreaming about alternate ways home. I’ve thought about hang gliding. I know I could probably catch some real good wind from the top of the Comcast Center, but I’m pretty sure I’d have a hard time navigating around the high-voltage wires near my house. If I could run a cable between the office and my roof, I could probably get home in less than five minutes, but somehow I think my employer would frown upon me hooking that up, plus I’m sure I’d end up with some pretty ugly bugs in my teeth. I guess the fact is, I’m stuck taking that bus. That is unless you know someone who could give me a good deal on a burro.