Last winter when I commuted from my parent’s house to my fancy Manhattan job, I started off with the mentality of someone who has never done that daily trek before. I was bright eyed and fresh faced about the extra hours in the morning and was sure that I would be both totally up on current events AND plow through my ever-expanding reading list without requiring the luxurious days of a beach vacation or the free time afforded by not sleeping thanks to a horrible break up to kick it in high gear. Not the case. As it turns out, while I did not mind getting up at 5:30 AM daily to meet my parents in the kitchen for breakfast and coffee, the commute was a different story.
Since I was to have ALL THIS TIME, I was planning on reading The Luminaries as I’d heard great things about it. I picked up a hard cover copy at the bookstore and began on a weekend. About a hundred pages in, I realized that I was carrying the book with me on the bus, to the subway and then to the office and still had not made much progress. Two nights per week I’d leave the office and walk across Central Park to go to Pure Barre before coming home. On those nights I wasn’t at my house until well after ten. That is a long day and a heavy book. (FACT: I am still vehemently against e-books.) But here’s the other part. The bus is a commuter bus. The nice kind of bus that we used to take in middle school when we were going on a fancy field trip somewhere like Washington D.C. It has seats more like an airplane than a bus and has a bathroom in the back. And that means something in the world of New York City commuting. In the morning the lights are out. There is a 100% no talking, no cell phone rule and the driver enforces it. It is great. It is also less conducive to reading or studying for the GRE than say, sleeping. So, while I thought I was going to be DOING ALL OF THE THINGS, as it turns out, I was 100% passed out. Mouth agape, head back kind of asleep. In a blink I’d see the sun coming up over the NYC skyline before we dipped into the tunnel. This was wake up time, and the driver would turn on the lights and rouse his sleeping masses and kindly remind us not to forget things like our cell phones.
There was a Fresh & Co between my stop at Lexington and the office and I’d regularly slop there for second breakfast. This is another joy of the 5:30 AM wake up. Second breakfast. It’s a thing. If you think you can make it until noon or 1 without it, you are crazy. Sometimes I’d bring yogurt and fruit, but I loved and I mean LOVED that they sold hot steel cut oatmeal. MMmmmm They knew me by my order, half milk half water with the tiniest tiniest bit of brown sugar and raisins. I’d pick up a banana as well. It was great. The only problem with the lovely staff starting my oatmeal order before I’d say anything is that if I wanted something else, I’d have to walk to another spot. If I was like “hmm I want a bagel,” no deal at Fresh & Co., I would have to purchase my bagel elsewhere, or buy both. That’s the way it works. And honestly, I’m okay with that.
I’ve made way WAY more progress on my reading list now that I’m back in New Orleans with ample free time to read and write this blog in between my shifts waiting tables and penning articles for local publications. Even so, the funny thing is that I have still not read The Luminaries. The other thing about starting an epic book is that if you’ve gone on and read several, and I mean SEVERAL in the meantime, you only kind of remember and it is nearly impossible to pick up where you left off around page 100-and-something. It is also annoying to start over because you remember enough of it to make it tedious. The only option is really to wait. So here I am, waiting. I think perhaps this summer will be good. Stay tuned.