Commuting to NYC Part II

And back to back commuting again. It’s a good thing, but the experiment with people not really being comfortable with being close to each other is taking some interesting turns.

I started taking the very early train so I can get a seat on the train. At this time of the morning it's very quiet, and the train station is not really full. It’s a good time to be out.

Unfortunately, even at this time of the morning I had to stand. Again, it’s a good thing to see life returning to a semi-normal place, but sometimes I do want to sit. Still, commuting continues, and it’s a good time to do some reading, listening to music or podcasts, and work on some thinking.

I usually use this time to problem solve. Between the ambient noise and the music, I can get to the zone quickly. However, as much as I let go of a little bit of my awareness, I need to remain aware. My head moves all the time and I tend to focus and acknowledge, at least once, each person around me. It’s like saying: “I know you are there, and I know you may be….”

This kind of “acknowledgement” allows you to set a tone around you. You are saying you are aware, and you know how to be safe. The more you do it, the more of an instinctive awareness you will build and the more you’ll build the baselines for what normal looks like. And, of course, the more you’ll notice things that deviate from that normal.

Back to the commute. I arrived in Grand Central Station and, in spite of being almost empty, I walked out to the subway station as fast as I could. I don’t like to linger in public places, they tend to be magnets for bad people and bad things happening, so I try to move away from them as fast as I can.

As always, there is a need to remain in a state of relaxed awareness.

The subway is busier now. Not as pleasant as back when I began going back, but nowhere near the craziness of pre-COVID times.

And yes, because late fall is so awesome, I even got off the subway before my station and walked for a while. The colors are amazing, even in an urban jungle.

Overall it was a good commute, and continues to be so. But it's getting busier. It's getting there. Between the uneasy feeling of COVID and my natural sense of paranoia and awareness, it's often a bit of an E&E (escape and evasion) game...

To close, and in case you were wondering what I carried in my backpack, here's a picture. You can get more information here about the contents, but it's light, and it allows me to be fast and nimble. Speed is safety.