The more I read, the more encouraged I am to write. Not only to write, but to observe and write.
Thursday at work was hectic. Hectic enough for me to work eleven hours without a break. At multiple points throughout the day, when I could spare five minutes or so, I found myself in the break room, cramming food into my face. Needless to say, all I wanted by the time it was my turn to clock out was to go home and eat a delicious real meal.
That was not going to happen.
Because of how busy the day had been, I never got a moment to check my phone. Eating was much more important (if you know me well, this should come as no surprise). It was fifteen til seven when I finally did look at my phone. I had a few text messages from Dustin. The last one read:
Not only did I not have a quick ride home (Dustin usually picks me up from work), but earlier in the day, while I was riding the bus to work, I realized that I did not have my house key with me. I have Wednesdays off and because most people work on Wednesdays, I choose to do my long runs on Wednesdays. I usually have the sidewalks and trails all to myself, which would not be the case on weekends.
Anyhow, I ran on Wednesday and left my key in the armband that I use to carry my phone while I run. D’oh! So not only did I not have a ride home, I couldn’t get into my home even if I somehow managed to arrive there. And what on earth would I eat if I didn’t get in? I was hungry!
I quickly decided on a plan. I would ride the train to Downtown Carrollton, eat a veggie burger at Twisted Root, take the 400 bus to Marsh and Belt Line, walk down Marsh to my apartment community, and just hang out at the gym until Dustin got home.
I was irritated as I started my journey. I kept trying to estimate the time that Dustin would be home to rescue me. If his sister’s play was at seven (in Downtown Dallas), it was possible that it would not end until nine, then he’d have to ride the train back to Carrollton, and finally drive home. My guess was that it could be as late as eleven before he got home. [sigh]
The train left the station by my work at 7:08. It took less than ten minutes for me to get to Downtown Carrollton. The station there is high on a platform. You have to take stairs or elevators to get down to street level. I got off the train and took the stairs that were on my immediate right. I made my way across the station parking lot and towards the intersection where I’d be crossing the street to make my way to the burger place.
The light took a good while. I felt like I was standing there for hours, partly because I was carrying my backpack and my DSLR camera (in its bag). Both carried a significant weight. As I stood there waiting for the walk signal, I thought about the weight of my bags and how exhausting it was going to be to walk from the bus stop to my apartment. I became irritated again.
Finally, the light turned and I was able to get across. As I headed towards Twisted Root, I noticed that there was a crosswalk from the train platform over the street that I waited so long to cross. Dammit! I wish I had known that before! I could have avoided waiting so long at that intersection. Irritation station.
Whatever. It was time to eat. Twisted Root was surprisingly busy for a weeknight. So there was more standing while carrying my becoming-heavier-by-the-minute bags. There was a girl who was about ten years old in front of me in the (long) line to order. She kept asking her dad for his phone and took pictures of all the bumper stickers on the wall. She annoyed me. In front of her group was a trio of teenagers. None of them really knew what they wanted to order and so they held up the line by asking the cashier question after question about what seemed like each and every item on the menu. I was too tired for that shit.
To top things off, I realized that my phone battery was dreadfully low. I decided to turn my phone off because I needed it to buy a bus pass. There’s an app for that.
I finally ordered, got my food, and sat at the smallest table. The one with only one stool. Perfect for a loner like me. I pulled out the Kindle that Dustin recently gave me and started reading The Fault in Our Stars. I finished the chapter I was on and read an additional chapter before stopping. Reading the way the narrator described the simplest events and her surroundings made me want to pay more attention to my own surroundings and inspired me to write about this atypical evening. The thought of writing lifted my spirits. I started my way away from irritation station.
I turned my phone back on, took a photo for my 100 Happy Days Instagram challenge, and looked up the 400 bus schedule. The bus would be arriving at Downtown Carrollton at 8:30. It was 8:10. I turned my phone off again, finished the last of my fries and pickles, and got up to start my journey home.
I made it to the bus stop with time to spare. There were four others waiting for the bus, all of them appeared to be just as exhausted as I was. When the bus arrived and I had grabbed a seat on it, I looked around and noticed that everyone seemed exhausted. The woman in front of me appeared to have fallen asleep. A man to my left and a few seats ahead was riding with his head lowered. Everyone was quiet.
I felt like such a baby for having been so irritated earlier. Yes, I was tired, but come on, Daisy. You are not the only person in the world who had a long day at work. Riding the bus and then having to walk home is not ideal, but at least you do not have to do it every day, which could very well be the case for everyone else on that bus.
The sun finished setting while I was on the bus and it was dark out by the time I got off and started walking home. I started hoping for the gym to be free so that I’d have it all to myself. I walked and walked and walked. I considered stopping at the gas station that is on the way to buy a bottle of water, but decided against it. I wasn’t terribly thirsty and was making good time. I would be at my destination sooner rather than later and would have access to the water fountain there.
There were others walking along the sidewalk I was on and the one across the street. This made me feel less crazy. The weather was so glorious! It was only slightly cool and there was a lovely breeze. It made my walk more enjoyable than I had expected it to be.
After about fifteen to twenty minutes of walking – I can’t be sure of the time since I do not wear a watch and my phone was off – I made it to my complex and made my way to the gym. Thankfully, there wasn’t anyone else there. I closed the blinds for privacy, turned the television on to MTV’s The Challenge, made my way to the stationary bike, and started pedaling away. Might as well even after all the walking. What if someone came in and just found me sitting there watching the television? How pathetic would that be? So although I did not have the appropriate clothes – I was still in my scrubs – I pedaled.
It was at least fifteen after nine. I eventually turned my phone on and realized that Dustin had sent me a text message to let me know that he was on his way home.
I let him know that I was at the gym and sent him the code to get in. He doesn’t know it. He never goes. I continued to watch the television and pedal. I now have the desire to own a stationary bike for my living room so that I can workout while I watch tv.
Finally, a little after 10:00 PM, I heard a knock down the hallway. It was Dustin. He forgot to enter the “*” after the numerical code and so was unsuccessful at getting in. Oh, I was so happy that he had arrived! It was almost my bedtime and I felt that there was so much to do before I could sleep!
What an adventure. The best part, the absolute best part, was that by the time I did go to bed, I was not irritated. Sure, it was a long evening following a long day, but I enjoyed my solo date at the burger place, I learned how to ride the 400, I was encouraged to at least use the stationary bike to get some exercise even after long days, I enjoyed the weather and was encouraged to spend more time outdoors, and I realized how productive an evening after work can really be!
This is not to say that I would like to repeat this adventure soon, but if I have to, it will be completely okay!