Sunday, August 1, 2004

A Walking Commute

My commute home begins with the walk from my office to the Kendall Square "T Stop". From Kendall, I take a train to the bus stop at Alewife. The train ride from Kendall to Alewife is about fifteen minutes. The 6:25PM bus gets me home in about twenty minutes.

The key factor to making the 6:25PM bus is the walk from my office. I leave work by 5:50PM. It takes a few minutes for the elevator to rise to the eighth floor office where I work. By the time I'm street level, it may be 5:53PM or 5:54PM. The walk from my office to the train can be done in ten or eleven minutes at a leisurely pace.

But I don't go at a leisurely pace. I walk heads down, long strides, taking a criss-crossing path that gets me to the T in about nine to ten minutes. A few days ago, however, I walked to the train with another person who went a completely different way. She said her route was faster, and I was amazed when we got to the T in slightly over eight minutes!

The new route crosses fewer streets, and when it does cross a street, the intersection is less busier, so I don't have to wait. The new route also cuts an angle. The sidewalk on this new route curves away from the T, but she cuts across this curve, going straight, making the walk seem even faster. The new route also avoids traffic lights, whereas my original walk crosses at least three lights.

We go through life accepting things as being 'set'. "That's the way I always walk." "That's the turn I always make". I was starting to get 'set' with my walk. It's rewarding to reexamine old habits, and to make new discoveries about them.

Now if I could only call up the elevator from my desk.

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