We’re well into June, and that means the assault on Mt. Stephenson is underway— the Ascent Team has agreed to read Cryptonomicon in June, Quicksilver in July, The Confusion in August, and The System of the World in September. I’m tingling with anticipation of getting back into The Baroque Cycle after all this time! This means there’s going to be more blogging around this place soon, so I thought it would be a good idea to warm up with a few short posts before we head off into thin air with Neal Stephenson.
I’m a couple of weeks into an experiment with taking public transportation to work instead of driving. Gas prices are the proximate cause of this change, supported by the need for more reading time, the critical need for more regular exercise, and free-floating liberal guilt. I’m a Portlander, for pity’s sake; how can I justify driving a single-occupant vehicle 26 miles a day when there’s a Max station on the corner opposite my office building? Commuting takes planning, organization, a big time commitment (driving, my work day is 8:00-6:00; commuting makes it 7:00-7:00) and a certain amount of anxiety-control, given that being alone amidst a lot of strangers is challenging for me. On the upside, it forces me to walk a cumulative hour every day, plus the cardio I get on the stairs at Hollywood station (my doctor is SO pleased!), and once my tush is in a seat, I can just relax and read—someone else is worrying about the traffic. I’m powering through Cryptonomicon at a record pace, thanks to the extra hours of reading time in my week.
I’ve only managed to commute two days per week so far, and am trying to get to three. I’ve run the numbers, and with my workplace subsidy on bus passes, driving half the time and commuting the other half is the break-even point at current gas prices. I can commit to that. As I get more accustomed to it, and as gas prices continue to rise, it will be even more appealing.
I do, however, need to get some kind of stretching routine into place. So far, I haven’t been able to commute two days in a row because I’m so frickin’ sore and tired the day after I’ve done it. Doing stretches I remember from PE class isn’t cutting it, so I suppose I need to Google around for something more effective—recommendations, anyone?