November 14 11

I’m more than fairly certain that my commute is killing me. The morning hour and ten is an hour and ten away from my family. The evening hour and ten is another hour and ten away from my family. Two hours and twenty minutes, five days a week. And that’s when the subway is running smoothly, which is pretty much never. I love my job, but the commute makes me hate it, loathe it, want to punch it in the ear. I know I’m not the only one who turns to real estate porn after particularly frazzled TTC experiences. Look at all the beautiful houses I could buy for a fraction of the cost of my house and I could work at home in pajamas. No commute! A giant lawn! no 5:30am alarm wake-iup!

(Tell me again why I am doing this?)

So, yes, the commute is killing me softly. Or, actually, hard and rapid, it’s killing. I thought I would have lasted longer than 6 months. I thought it was just going to become a part of what I did. The rat race. They say that people love it. They love it.

I do not.

On Friday afternoon, though, on a day I was feeling particularly down, a day I was ready to throw in the towel and just call it quits forever, something happened. Something completely unexpected. I got on the subway as I always do, at 4:06 on the dot. I sat down beside my favorite kind of seatmate, the hipster student. He was all decked out with all of the accouterments, save for the Pabst Blue Ribbon can. I pulled out my phone to read the second half of The Sisters Brothers. And then it happened.

My buddy the hipster pulled out his sketchpad, turned to a crisp, blank white page and began sketching the girl sitting across from us. She had no idea, as she was bopping along to her music. He drew and drew and drew. HER. It looked exactly like her. Her hair wisps in her face, her giant earphones, her chucks, her smile.

And then when he got up at North York Centre station he ripped off the top page and handed her the drawing.

My heart practically leapt out of my body.


That moment.

Like this.

Or this.

It restored my faith in the public transit system.

At least for another day.

At least until the naked homeless man in the brand-new nikes comes flopping down the subway car.


  1. I love that story! Yay! The funniest thing though is that when you began describing the sketch pad, I was like, oh, is that an app? It didn’t occur to me until I went back to re-read that paragraph that it was actually a paper sketchpad..that is so vintage:)

    My commute is about 1/2 yours; we live downtown but I work out in the burbs. I’m going against traffic both ways but the drive does suck the life right out of me, especially the downtown driving part where I regularly see drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists all acting legitimately insane. So stressful! That is an awesome story about the hipster sketch artist.

    Comment by Jen on November 14, 2011
  2. This is the best subway story ever. Love it!

    Comment by Sandy on November 14, 2011
  3. That is such a sweet story. Nice you were able to observe it. I took the GO Train last time I visited a friend in Toronto and I enjoyed people watching. But I could see how that (and the time it took to get to where I was going) could get old, and fast.

    Comment by Chantal on November 14, 2011
  4. That never happens in Chicago. The hipster kids just talk really loudly about stupid things and I shoot them dirty looks.

    Some days the commute bothers me a lot. I remember my old 30 minute drive from my old job. But I HATED that job, so that’s what gets me through those trying commutes.

    Also, I drove for the first time a few weeks ago and it was so much worse! It didn’t save me any time and my road rage was out of control.

    Comment by Kristabella on November 14, 2011
  5. driving in toronto is better in the mornings but a complete and total nightmare in the afternoons.

    Comment by ali on November 14, 2011
  6. Love it!

    Comment by monstergirlee on November 14, 2011
  7. I am SO enjoying your blog!
    “real estate porn” had me laugh right out loud! Too funny.

    Hope the commute home today is pleasant!

    Comment by Jenny on November 14, 2011
  8. You could be my neighbour! You don’t want to live here. We have snow. Like a week ago.

    At least you get to read. You love to read. At least there’s that.

    Comment by Heather on November 14, 2011
  9. Such a great story! But I’m dying to know how she reacted! Did she love it? Crumple it up? Get off and follow him? LOL

    Comment by CarrieLou on November 14, 2011
  10. OK, THAT is a really cute story.

    Sorry about the commute, though. Mine is 1/2 hour through farm country and then along a lake. It’s the time that I walk into the office that kills me.

    You and I need to figure out a way to work from home…

    Comment by Angella on November 14, 2011
  11. Aw, love this! My best subway story was when I was living in D.C. but had gone to NYC for the weekend with my friend. We were on the subway at 5 a.m. going back to our friends house in Queens started playing with my hair. A very strange, strange man. I was scared beyond beyond, and we didn’t know what to do. So I just let him play with my hair until he got off. All I was thinking was: “S*it. My parents are going to KILL me for getting killed in a subway in NYC at 5 a.m.! They’ll KNOW I was out partying all night!”

    Comment by Loukia on November 14, 2011
  12. Someone wrote me a poem once while I sat on the train reading my book, he dropped it the seat next to me when he got off. The poem is absolutely beautiful, and I remember nothing about the guy except he was tattooed, pierced, and had an impressive number of black clothing items. But the poem, my goodness, it is gorgeous! I have kept it for almost 10 years, tucked into a box in my dresser full of my most sentimental notes.


    Comment by heidikins on November 14, 2011
  13. Very cute story. What did she do? I hate my commute also (45 min drive). Hate it most in the winter.

    Comment by Tammi Marie on November 14, 2011
  14. Terrific.
    The subway always had the power to rip my soul to shreds as much as it did to lift it up to heaven and all that is good and right with the world. Now that I’m never on it, I miss it.
    No I don’t.

    Comment by karengreeners on November 14, 2011
  15. I wonder if either of them know how romantic that is? Wouldn’t it be great if they ended up together? EEeek.. ok, now I’m caught up! I would marry him. If I weren’t in my 30’s… and married…

    Comment by Suzanne on November 14, 2011
  16. […] It doesn’t really matter, in that moment when I spy the tutu, what sort of day I had. If my hair looked particularly good, if I fit into my skinniest jeans, if I took my Greens+, if I finished a daunting task at work ahead of schedule, if I had great networking conversations, if I had epiphanies, if amazing things happened on the subway. […]

    Pingback by » The Pink Tutu Cheaper Than Therapy on November 15, 2011
  17. Sweet story. In NYC, b-boys dance in the subway cars and Mariachi bands play music(they also go around with a hat asking for donations after their pop-up performances). The performers jump from subway car to subway car at each stop and are a welcomed distraction from the daily commute.

    Comment by Catherine on November 15, 2011
  18. ntomtdosesticaoed August 27, 2011 I hate you!! (JK! ) Lucky girl … I don’t hate you … just jealous of you!

    Comment by Shah on February 8, 2012
  19. sv0jhC rzegbhifapln

    Comment by umcwwjsmir on February 9, 2012

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