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Below are some absolute gems on commuting.
First, the etymology of “commute” Americanized:
The word crossed over to use in a railway context in the US, where regular travellers began to swap day tickets for better-value season tickets; they “commuted” their daily tickets into season tickets.
Second, the concept of commuting as a “third place” to get stuff done away from home and work.
It was a new kind of time in the day: an interstitial mental space between home life and work.
And thirdly, the article explains how commuting via train is a mysteriously personal and more peaceful experience than any other commute:
And that, perhaps is why people go quiet in the underground. It’s the only time we experience a combination of 21st-century technology (the trains), 19th-century technology and vision (the tunnels, the network) and our paleolithic deep self. A person on the underground is experiencing the rare chance to be a 21st-century Victorian caveman.
I’m working on a book right now that compares how riding the train predicts many of the everyday things we see in life. Life is the insides of the train in slow motion.
And so the volume has incrementally risen, the imbecilic din encroaching on one place after another — mass transit, waiting rooms, theaters, museums, the library — until this last bastion of civility and calm, the Quiet Car, has become the battlefield where we quiet ones, our backs forced to the wall, finally hold our ground.
It’s amazing that in today’s digital age you’d think that the consumption on Internet devices would quiet people down. Instead, it’s made people ignorant and blind to the Quiet Car, the only bastion of public serenity we have left.
Every morning the train conductor counts the number of people that exit the train. He wants to make sure everyone paid.
As a customer, you just become a tally like everyone else. There’s no rewards program or special treatment for years of traveling. You don’t get any recognition at all.
A lot of people carry on there lives like another click, another meaningless cog in a controlled system of service. You deserve better.
Life is one part showing up consistently, another part doing the work and standing out. The commute may be the desultory part. Once you step up off the train, you must take positive action.
Prove to the world that you’re a consistent doer, and you can tally up your own success and get recognized for it just as you deserve.
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.
The 10-hour flight from JFK to Istanbul isn’t so bad if you leave at midnight and sleep 80% of the time.
I didn’t get as much reading as I would’ve liked but I got enough sleep to carry me over the dawn of jet lag.
After a five hour drive I’m now in Ankara, Turkey’s capital with plans to get the download on Ataturk and attend the castle for both viewing and our first Anniversary dinner.
My initial impressions of Turkey are the same for every foreign country I visit, a deep influence of American culture mostly in the form of food, beverages, and entertainment. Apparently there’s 3 Starbucks near me now.
There’s much to explore on a full day one here. More to come tomorrow. Stay tuned.
We put our bikes together at Yogyakarta airport, overseen by a crowd of curious locals, and then made our way through the motorcycle-infested streets of the city. We broke free of the traffic onto less congested streets and headed for Borobudur. The ancient Buddhist temple is the reason most people go to Yogyakarta and it’s the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia.
Imagine saying that to every ticket holder on the train. Every day.
The main reason train conductors say ‘Thank you’ is not only to show they care (although you could argue it’s desultory) but also to mentally check a passenger off the list. It also triggers the passenger to put away their ticket. Relief.
They say to practice speech in front of a mirror for a reason. We remember what we say better than what we think, more so than inner monologue. But we really remember our lines when we speak with emotion, as do others when we say it to them.
That’s why the monotone ‘Thank you’ is such a practical and word, a paradox rife with boredom.