I left home at exactly 7:25 and arrived at work at exactly 8:35 a.m. This hour and ten minute trip is terrific news! I moved to Eastern Market this weekend, which has been both exciting — an entirely new neighborhood! — and worrisome, as it means a longer commute from D.C. to Rockville, Maryland. Or so I thought.
For the last eight years I have lived in Glover Park, near Calvert and Wisconsin Northwest. I sometimes drove to work via Rock Creek Parkway and then the George Washington Parkway. This route also meant getting on the dreaded race track that is the D.C. Beltway. Since the snow storm of 2009 — has it been that long?! — I have been taking the bus and the metro around the city and to work. At first, it took some getting used to; I’m from Arizona where everyone needs a car. My family live in the rural parts of the desert where there is no such thing as public transportation, and until recently even Phoenix didn’t have a rail system. Tucson has a bus system that seems reliable though I haven’t used it in ages. Washington, D.C. has a great bus and rail system, though, and since the deadly red line accident a few years ago, WMATA has been committed to improving its services. Yes, there are other blogs out there like Unsuck DC Metro that thrive on delivering story after story of how Metro continues to fail, but I find the system to be very reliable especially with the help of Next Bus (since 2009 I have ridden a D.C. bus or train practically everyday).
My old commute, whether it was from Calvert Street or 35th Street (both on Wisconsin Avenue) took me exactly an hour to get to work. Getting from Glover Park to Rockville was a straight shot — any 30 bus to Tenleytown and take the red line to Rockville station — and I loved the convenience and the directness of my trip (remember, I used to have to wind out and around the city to get to work). Moving to Eastern Market — 8th and East Capitol NE to be exact — made me wonder how long it would take to get to work, whether or not I could handle the transfer at Metro Center, or if I should start driving again (lately I have been debating selling my car). This morning I found out the happy verdict: I only added 10 minutes to my commute.
When worrying over commute time I had not considered the fact that I’d be living near a metro station. This is new to me. Kind of. I once lived in Cleveland Park near the red line stop and I remember how convenient that stop was to traveling to most places in the city (which might explain the property values along the red line). This morning I discovered that while living on the blue and orange line and transferring to the red line is visually more cumbersome on the map (instead of a straight shot up Wisconsin Avenue) I am on a faster service (a train instead of a bus) at rush hour (there are no other cars to compete with). My commute is longer, yes, but it’s also faster!
I realise I am becoming one of those grown-ups that talks about his time-saving or time-consuming commute. (I used to brag about my parallel parking skills, too.) Why is this so interesting and exciting to me? Also, why is looking at furniture now exciting? Yesterday, while wandering through Eastern Market’s open air flea market, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a set of high back dining chairs. I lingered on them for bit but was disappointed when I saw only three, not four, an incomplete set. What’s happening to me?