Friday, August 31, 2012

The commute thus far

Pros:


-My four-leg-each-way journey would make for a fantastic RNC speech. 

-The train I take to get me in on time gets me in early. Early enough to get a chocolate croissant and iced coffee at the place near the building.

-Whoa, I'm in New York! Not sure if this counts as pro or con, but I'm well-situated to replace some of last year's dog-walk-through-mud clothes with ones appropriate for such things as teaching, being part of the world of non-stay-at-home-poodle-mom-dissertaters. Given that this means stuff like a $40 blazer from Zara Boys, and not going around in stained, ragged tank tops, I'm thinking "pro."

-Dos Toros!!!

Cons:

-Spent a good amount of my time in the city attempting to prove to the university that I'm still on the very same health insurance as since forever. Some kind of computer issues, but they don't recognize the grad students as having insurance for the time being. 

-Credit card declined at two different NJ Transit machines, due - I now know - not to any problem with my card, but with the machines themselves.

-NJ Transit is the most expensive thing ever, thanks to Chris "my mom took three buses to work" Christie. Well done, dude!

-The gastrointestinal difficulties of the man who seemed to be not-so-surreptitiously taking pictures of me with his phone, diagonally across from me.

4 comments:

Flavia said...

Gah, sympathies. I did that commute in reverse one summer. Always felt like a longer trip than it actually was.

Though I'll note that SEPTA is worse than NJTransit by leaps and bounds. (Commuted from Harlem to North Philly, via subway, NJ Transit, and SEPTA for a year, something like 3-hours each way, with a layover in Trenton of irregular and unpredictable length, esp. on the nighttime return. Yes, I was an idiot.)

Phoebe said...

Flavia,

Solidarity appreciated. Every time it comes up where I live, people get this look of how-could-you-do-this-to-yourself, and it's like, because I must, because it was that or working at Talbots in town. I'm quite happy to be in the city once I arrive, so there's that.

SEPTA sounds like a disaster. I've only ever been to Philadelphia from Princeton by car, whereas our one attempt to go to NYC that way was so, so much worse than going by train.

Flavia said...

And yet, no one ever wonders why profs who teach in Euphemistic New Jersey live in NYC and commute! Same damn commute, same drag, but people find that more reasonable than the reverse.

When I was commuting from Harlem to Euphemistic Connecticut, I occasionally ran into professors on the train making the same commute--but who invariably lived out in Brooklyn (adding at least 30 minutes each way), who did it for three or four long days on campus a week compared with my two relatively short days, and who presumably were prepared to do it FOR YEARS, not just while young and with few obligations.

That always seemed nuts to me.

Phoebe said...

To be fair, if you're commuting to teach a couple times a week, and making a real salary, that's different from every day for TAing. But you're right that this is a common-enough commute, and it's well-known enough that while my fellow grad students are aghast, profs' approach is basically, you still live in New York. Given that other grad students come in from really far, but in Brooklyn or Queens, and that my rent plus the train is still less than a NY rent, I suppose, for most purposes, I do. It doesn't feel that way when I spend so much time in the wilderness, but so it goes.