Here I sit and wait for the train. I commuted into NYC once a week for a few months so I figured I’d record those moments that get lost in time. Often we commemorate big events but not the little ones. I like keeping track of the little things. At least on occasion. I’m similar to everyone else and usually forget the small stuff so sometimes I like to write it down .

First of all the schedule I worked on was terrible. I worked on Wednesday’s from 2PM until 6:20 PM. That doesn’t make for a quick commute via public transportation. The peak trains have ended and the middle of the day trains run fewer and far between. I had a choice between two trains. The first one gets me into Penn Station at about a quarter to two. Being that it’s a twenty minute walk to where I need to go that’s not a very good choice. The problem is that the next earlier train is an hour and a half earlier than that one. But it’s the one I have to take. 

The worst thing about public transportation is the waiting. Any commute involves commute time plus waiting for a bus or train. With the train arriving at Nanuet station at 10:52 AM that means I have to be there ten minutes before that. It’s a twenty minute drive from my house to the station so I end up leaving the house at a quarter after ten. I also have to take into account the five minutes it takes to park and walk over to the train.

Luckily for me there was a nice glass enclosed waiting area at the train station. Since it was winter when I commuted I was able to sit in there and draw. I drew in my ink book or drew some of my 5×7 inch cartoon art cards. I had a 6×8 inch stiff cardboard envelope that I stuck some Bristol board in and the envelope doubles as a drawing board too. I even left my house five or ten minutes early, just in case of traffic, plus I know I’ll get a little extra drawing time in.

When the train comes I get on and kick back with my headphones on. I’ve collected old Howard Stern shows as mp3s over the years and I usually play some of that as I relax and ride. I put them on my old generation one iPod Touch and start listening in the car on the way to the station. Lately I’ve been listening to the Eric the Actor Omnibus. Somebody out there in internet land made individual mp3 files of every one of ETA’s appearances and posted them for us fans.

As I ride the train more waiting is up ahead. There is no direct train route from Nanuet to NYC so we have to get off at Secaucus Junction and get on a train to Penn Station from there. Being that I don’t want to get to school too early I have a choice between stations to wait at. Penn Station is a bad place to wait. It’s a terrible space not built for humans. Secaucus Junction is sunny, spacious, and vibrant. So that’s where I usually wait. I find a seat on a bench in the main waiting area and pull out my drawing stuff to work on. It’s been the faces lately. I stay there for about half an hour before getting on a train into the city.
There was a day this February where the temperature actually hit 80F. That sure was unusual during this especially cold winter and spring so I took advantage of it by not drawing and heading in to take street photos. I walked around for an hour and a half snapping photos. I have to say that was a tiring day. All that walking and then standing and teaching wore me out more than usual.

Besides that one day I usually got into the city at about a quarter to one. That means I arrive at the school about an hour early. That leaves me time to check into the office and chat a little before heading up to my classroom. I almost always get to the class earlier than my students so I set things up and then do some more drawing. I have about half an hour to work in my ink book. Then I teach.

After class things move quickly at first. We get out at 6:20 and I hustle over to Penn. it really doesn’t matter what time I get there as there are a whole bunch of trains that stop at Secaucus Junction. It’s the time of the train from Secaucus to Nanuet that matters. There is a 7PM but it’s a local. I’ve only caught this one once and it didn’t save me much time. There is a 7:30 express train and that’s the one I’m usually on. Despite it leaving half an hour later it only arrives at Nanuet five to ten minutes after the 7PM. 

So what do I do for that half an hour at the station? I read. I’m way too burnt out by then for drawing so I read. I read comic books on my iPad. I prefer my comic books on paper but as I’m commuting digital comics sure are handy. I often reread the paper comics I bought the week before in their digital version. I’m in the habit of always reading my comics twice before filing them away so this is a good opportunity for that second read. I’ll also check out some new and old stuff. Once the train comes I also read most of the way to Nanuet. No headphones on the way home.

As a change of pace today, the last day of my semester, I’m writing on my iPad rather than drawing or listening to music. It’s not easy I’m finding out. Typing with one finger on a moving train is hard on the concentration. The guy on the phone behind me didn’t help. Here comes Secaucus so I’ll catch you later.


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