Book Excerpt: The Commute on the Subway

After the dog arrived in our lives, Russ and I stopped taking the subway together. Our young Wheaten Terrier had terrible separation anxiety and could only manage one of us leaving at a time.

The Morning Dog Walk

The dog was my idea so I took on the responsibility of the morning’s first walk. I couldn’t manage getting up any earlier so Fionn and I would leave for a walk at the same time Russ left for the subway. The dog would do his business in the raised planters in front of the Keg, wiggle his stubby little tail if his chocolate lab buddy had peed there an hour earlier, and we’d continue on around the block.


The Station

By the time I got him settled in his crate and headed out to the subway it was 8:00, if not later, and exponentially more crowded on the platform. Sometimes I waited for two or three trains before I could squeeze myself on. I held my black MEC messenger bag in front of me and stood with a slightly wider stance if there was room, to help me balance when the subway driver broke hard.


The Subway

On snowy winter mornings we would be pressed shoulder to shoulder, the subway car’s heat cranked too high, causing unnatural humidity from snow evaporating off of our coats. I breathed shallowly to avoid inhaling too much of the air thick with the scent of wet wool and mothballs. I often arrived at King Station lightheaded and feeling faint.

The fluorescent lights at the Melinda Street exit of the station and the pale yellow subway tiles cast a sickly pall. A hundred people trudged up the stairs or crammed onto the escalator and escaped the station through the metal teeth of the turnstiles. They continued to stream into Commerce Court while I took a hard right into our office building and waited for the elevator.


I’m writing a career change memoir and I’d love your feedback as I post small ~300 word blurbs. What do you want to know more about? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Comment below or e-mail me.

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