Throwing my free time under the bus

As I mentioned (here a euphemism for “complained about”) in my last post, I’m spending a lot of time commuting this semester. I mean, a. lot. Sometimes it takes nearly 3 hours to get home from my internship. This will give you an idea of what the soundtrack to my life is these days:

I’ve never been a stranger to public transportation, but the amount of hours I now spend on the bus and the MAX has me feeling like a tag-team of a disembodied cyborg lady and her sultry Spanish translator have taken up the task of narrating my life.


Sun shines through the frosted glass of the bus shelter. Photo by Gabrielle Nygaard

Come to think of it, the time it took me to get to school during my semester in Japan was almost comparable; but the big differences were that the majority of it was walking, not riding, and I was never alone.

My only companion now is my Zune, Jumbie. (Yes, I still have a Zune. Yes, Jumbie is a total brick. Oh, geez—I just realized that my Zune is nearly as old as the 2nd graders I volunteer with. What a world).

Anyway, don’t laugh, but I don’t have my driver’s license, so I’m stuck with this commute. Puertas a mi izquierda will haunt my dreams for at least a few months longer.

Such long stints on public transportation present a unique opportunity. One can disengage, make earnest attempts to block out the world with barriers of earphones and books or even the guise of sleep. But if you are willing to hazard the vulnerability and keep your eyes, ears, and senses open… you can see some pretty interesting things.

More than ambient noise, a simple train ride can feel like a downright study in humanity. It  is what you make of it.

I can’t promise anything, because sometimes 3 hours of reading is just too tempting. But I’ll try to be receptive to what TriMet has to teach me from here on out.


2 thoughts on “Throwing my free time under the bus

  1. This post is brilliant. The editing on your audio montage is nice and tight – a great representation of life on The Max. “…a tag-team of a disembodied cyborg lady and her sultry Spanish translator have taken up the task of narrating my life” may be the single best line I’ve ever read in a student blog. Please let me know if I have permission to share this with the class. I’d really like the other students to see and hear this.

    Also, you could show us how you go the text tags on each of the audio segments. That’s a neat trick I’ve never seen in SoundCloud.

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