Driving and Biking in the Big City

No commuting this Chronicle

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Rehabbing my new knee

Rehabbing my new knee

I am on a bit of a work hiatus while I recover from knee replacement surgery and am starting to miss my 30-mile commute to the city in rush-hour traffic. “What?” you say. “True,” I answer. It even shocks me that I am such a hearty commuter. Something about that early morning entry into the rat race gets my blood pumping and my creative juices flowing. I see the ‘burbs in my rearview mirror and the mountainous skyscrapers ahead, and I thank God for the opportunities of both.

As a commuter, I have an 11-hour day and get more done than I do while I’m puttering around the house with little to do but try to rehab my knee. “Shall I water the plants?” I think. Then, two or three plants later, I decide that I’ll get to the rest of them later today or tomorrow. I have this adored gardenia that is pot-bound and needs to be replanted in a flower bed in the yard. I may wait until the weekend to get that done. Wait! Wait! My weekdays are the same as my weekends, I remember. Shouldn’t I take advantage of the hours in a non-commute day to get my plants and garden in shape? You’d think.

Time to watch the spider spin his huge web.

Time to watch the spider spin his huge web.

If I were commuting, I’d certainly have potting soil and flowerbed trim on my list. I drive by several wonderful outdoorsy shops on my 30-mile route. I’ve even been known to go out at lunch to some of the boutique shops in Houston and buy some unique yard ornaments or plants. That gardenia would be sitting pretty way before now if I were on my regular schedule.

It’s amazing how much I get done on my way to and from work. Birthday presents, cards, groceries, dry cleaners, gas, oil change, Target run, wine. However, when I’m not already out and about, I seem to choose to stay home and not replenish any of the household supplies, eat at any fancy restaurants or do much of anything.

The house is a terrible wreck when I’m home in it day in and day out. When I’m on the road, I always make a sweep through in the morning and then in the evening when I go to bed. These days, I have no internal clock. I am just as likely to be up and puttering at 3 a.m. but I’m not likely to be doing anything constructive. I’ve got these “adult” coloring books and 100-count colored pencils that seem to be occupying my time.

Then, my appearance is way closer to “hippie chick” than is attractive. No makeup. Tennis shoes or – embarrassingly enough – clogs. With socks. I’ve worn the same two or three shorts and t-shirts most days. I’ve got this little bundle of laundry that I wash every few days and I’m good to go. In my real life, I always assess my wardrobe on Sundays. What needs to be cleaned; what earrings; what shoes. How many meetings do I have that week, and what jackets do I have for those meetings.

If I’m going to be around the Big Cheeses, I check my makeup supply and be sure it’s on hand. Nothing like getting in the car and not having my makeup to put on during the commute. What a waste of time to do it at home or at the office powder room. I’m typically not much of a makeup person – having passed right through my makeup phase in junior high. But, now that I’m the oldest professional in an office full of beautiful, younger women, I try to do my best – if not to keep up at least to show them that you can hang in longer than they think.

Right now, I can’t even tell you where a skirt is in my closet, much less a jacket or a dress. I have this favorite pair of pretty expensive light-weight cross trainers that I love. Or, should I say now that I have one of those usual two shoes. I can’t find the second shoe and don’t even have the urge to look.

Adult coloring book keeping me busy.

Adult coloring book keeping me busy.

My hair is longer than ever and beginning to look way grayer than I typically allow. When I’m commuting to the city, I have regular facials at lunchtime every six weeks and visit my hair shop for a cut and dye job almost as frequently. I don’t even have those hair and face folks to visit in the ‘burbs any more. I feel myself aging every day that I’m not commuting.

Now that I’ve written this column about how low key my life has become, I have the urge to get up and do something lively. Think I’ll start with finding that second shoe.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

October 6, 2015 at 10:08 am

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