My messed up advice on how to survive the work commute
I went from a work commute of an hour and a half by TTC down to under a ten-minute walk when I moved downtown. And then now, a month later, I’ve started my new job in Mississauga and knocked it right up to a 45 minute drive. Needless to say, I’ve learned a few things about keeping myself entertained during that time.
Below are my top three ways to get a kick out of your commute. Hope these help you as much as they have me!
Being stuck in a permanent public orgy isn’t always the most fun way to start off your mornings. The way I see it, you’re stuck with these people for the next little while so you might as well have a little fun.
3. Judge the book by its cover: mess with people’s heads before they’ve had their morning coffee. Go and buy a questionable piece of literature from your friendly neighbourhood Chapters. Buy a Korean teenagers’ magazine, one that has writing all over the front (if you’re of Asian descent, you can get really creative, and get something in Swahili or Hebrew). If you’re feeling up to it, buy a romance novel with the cheesiest cover image you can find. Watch people’s faces as they try to peer over and figure you out.
2. Be “that guy”: just start talking. Not to anyone in particular. The whole train/bus/streetcar is like your live diary. If you can’t do this with a straight face, then just shove your way over to one of the mirrors that drivers use to keep an eye on passengers (on a subway car, use the reflective window on the door of the control room) and just start adjusting your hair… endlessly. Once you get it just right, muss it up again and try something else. A deep side part? Twisted into devil horns? A Snooki-sized bump? Try it all out, for the entire commute. It’ll drive people nuts.
1. The crazy train: pick a song and hum it. Really loudly. Throw in a couple of mumbled almost words now and then. Even if you try to sound good, you will still sound like shit. Watch people turn up their iPods, and watch those who forgot their iPods feel sorry for themselves. Alternatively, you could give yourself a shoulder rub and emit the occasional satisfied moan to ensure that everyone around you knows you’re enjoying it.
You’re passing the same landmarks every day. Same tree that’s basically dead, same Starbucks barista who is suspiciously chipper and likely spikes his morning espresso with a handful of E, same lineup of kids with questionable parenting who slept in line outside of Much Music just to see some other teeny-bopper celebrity. Booooorrrriiiing. Time for a little variety.
3. Blame it on the alcohol: rinse out one of your empty beer bottles, and make sure you do this thoroughly! Pour water in it before you leave your place. Drink from it casually as you walk. If you’re feeling bold, bump into people. This is also fun to do on public transit, but be careful of spilling. Also, be sure to dispose of the bottle at least a couple of blocks from the office, it won’t be so funny if your Senior VP catches you “drowning your sorrows” before work.
2. Skip: ’nuff said.
1. Drama queen: throw a couple of show tunes, or some 90′s classics onto your iPod (think Rent, Whitney Houston or Backstreet Boys) and get ready to put on a show. Don’t only mouth the words, but really get into it. Reach up, make a fist, then bring it back down. Do a spin. Throw in jazz hands for good measure.
Ugh, traffic. Even worse in the summer, because you can feel the humidity setting in. And you swear that the tailgating jerk-off in the SUV behind you has a death wish. Oh great, the traffic reporter on the radio just said there’s an accident on the highway. Guess you’re going to be here a while… Care to make it interesting?
3. Pick a winner: we all do it. Sometimes you really need to get it, and other times it just feels good. You’ve got time to kill, might as well go for it. Pick your nose.
2. For the kid in you: Don’t you hate it when there is one guy blasting a stupid techno beat that just never seems to end? You could be that guy! But be cool, and instead turn up your speakers and blast Disney hits like “Circle of Life” or “Part of Your World”. Sing along as desired. Note: great way to spice up a carpool.
1. Once upon a time: this one requires a bit more focus, because you achieve best results if you can pass by the same car beside you multiple times (i.e. your lane speeds up, then the other lane catches up and passes, and then you speed up again, lather, rinse, repeat). Make sure that both your window and that of the other driver are open. Each time this car passes you, pretend you’re on a call, and just start spewing the most absurd things you can think of so that he/she thinks they are overhearing an awkward story. Try the following sequence: a) “well I was heading to Cuba with my friend Jenny”, b) “then I said ‘what do you mean, he had a sex change?’ ” c) “well if he really wanted to marry me then he shouldn’t have killed my pet goldfish!” d) “and then I woke up on my balcony holding a teacup and missing a sock.”