A few months ago, I moved from Philadelphia to a nearby suburb in New Jersey.
This is obviously a horror story.
I kept my job in Philly. A decision made possible by a train which runs through a handful of towns and into the city. I walk 1.7 miles from my house to the train station twice a day. A walk which takes approximately 40 minutes. The train ride lasts about 20 minutes. In total, an hour commute.
After several weeks, once I became accustomed to this journey, I realized it was possible to sit at the very front of the train in a seat on the right hand side of the driver. Eventually, I was able to claim this seat for myself.
Sitting at the front of the train is an odd experience. The train has no nose and you are very close to the window so the effect is much the same as riding in the front of a roller coaster. The turns are sharper and the stops more sudden without the comfort of knowing that someone ahead of you survived what you are immediately about to experience. Also, we go over a bridge. That's fun.
Exciting things I have seen from the front of the train:
▽ Whilst tunneling through the underground of Philadelphia, you come upon an abandoned station called Franklin Square. I crane my neck and peer through the half-light every single time, expecting to catch a sight of mole people or an army of orphaned children being raised by a rat king. Thus far, no such sightings. But still. An abandoned station. AN ABANDONED STATION, PEOPLE. No one else on the train seems to appreciate this landmark. Or maybe... I'm the only one who can see it.
▽ There is graffiti. Further evidence of aforementioned mole people/orphans. There is one message that always sparks my imagination. "Yo," it says. "Blake is back." Blake is back. What does this mean? Is it a warning? Blake was gone for a while and so you lived in his part of the tunnel but, dude, now he's returned from his quest of fighting gators in the sewers and he's gonna be pissed if you're in his tunnel so you should probably clear out. Or is it a celebration? Aw man, we really missed you, Blake. We can't go above ground and purchase streamers or a banner but we have this spray paint. The mole people baked you a cake. So glad you're back. Or maybe Blake, like, wasn't himself for a while. But he went off and got his head together and now he's back, baby. So he writes the message to congratulate himself. Yo! Blake is back and better than ever! An affirmation.
▽ We ran over a rabbit once. It made me sad. How many animals are sacrificed in the name of commuting each year?