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This is Today: My Journey From Frustration to Surrender

The following is a short story about a work commute that included so many frustrations I had to finally surrender to the absurdity of my task.

I awoke with a slight hangover from drinking a couple glasses of wine the night before. I thought little of it since it disappeared after two glasses of water, but the tone was set for the the litany of wrong turns I was about to take. I went through my usual routine, packed my lunch into my backpack, slung it over my shoulders and stepped out the door complete with sunglasses and earphones to deliver my personal morning walk soundtrack.

The Quest for Transportation

After a fairly blissful walk to the light rail stop, I waited for the next train. It arrived curiously empty. The conductor announced that due to a power issue, the train would stop short of downtown. Unfortunately, downtown is exactly where I needed to go. The conductor recommended that anyone in my predicament seek a bus.

I took his advice and headed to the nearest bus stop. I was hesitant about whether or not this was a good idea; certainly everyone else would be headed to the same stop. When I arrived, there were only about six people waiting. However, I was proven right shortly afterward, as more and more people started showing up. I decided to find another bus route. I not only wanted to get to work, but I wanted to be able to pop open a book and lose myself in someone else’s tragedy. How the hell could I do that on a bus stuffed so full, you couldn’t breathe, much less read?

A Series of Unfortunate Bus-Related Events

I walked several blocks to the next bus line that would take me where I needed to go. Along the way, I passed a line that was going downtown, but too far from my final destination to make it worthwhile. I noticed that the bus for that route was packed anyway. Thank goodness I didn’t need that bus. But also, hmm… was this another bad sign?

As I approached the stop for the bus I wanted, I saw two people standing there. A good sign! Soon the bus appeared. The driver opened the door and yelled that this line would not be going all the way downtown. I hopped on anyway. I rode until I felt like I’d made some progress toward my destination. Then I jumped off to wait for the bus that would take me downtown.

It took only five minutes for my final transfer to show up, but it was completely packed. I decided to throw in the towel on public transit. I checked my phone for the nearest Car2Go. I found and reserved a car just a ten minute walk away. Off I skipped to claim my four-wheeled salvation!

A New Hope (or Despair)

When I reached the street where the car was parked, I noticed a bus stop nearby. At that same time, I saw a bus pass by with few riders aboard. Excitement took over and I bolted to catch the bus. Then, about fifteen feet from the bus stop, I heard glass shatter. I knew I hadn’t bumped anything, yet I had this feeling I was somehow responsible. I glanced backwards. Seeing nothing obvious, I kept going. But when I glanced back again, I noticed something.

DAMMIT!!!! Sigh. The tiny jar of organic virgin coconut oil that I keep in my backpack had launched itself onto the sidewalk. As I about-faced, I saw that a homemade lip balm stick has also jumped ship. The final moment of surrender came. I resigned myself to the futility of trying to get to work in any expected schedule or manner. “This is today,” I thought to myself. As I cleaned up the lump of coconut oil and shards of glass as best I could, another nearly empty bus passed by. It gave me hope.

The Last Bus

When the mess was handled, I returned to the bus stop to wait patiently for whatever was to come next. Fortunately, it was a wonderfully spacious bus that allowed me to sit, open my book, and read about the tragic life of a young woman who had been forced to compete in violent games against other youth until only one remained, all in the name of plutocratic dominance over the majority. That REALLY sucks. But whenever I get to that point of ultimate testing, I will surrender by reminding myself that “this is today.”

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