Thursday, June 19, 2008

21 Days of Gratitude: Day 4

Today, the commute home just wiped me out for some reason. I didn't drive, I was just a passenger, but the time from Tumwater to Federal Way just sapped me of any energy to talk, write or even eat. Luckily, my mother-in-law was home and tossed something together for dinner. I was just so tired though that I couldn't remember what I ate an hour after I ate it.

If there's a negative with my job, it's the commute. But thank goodness for my vanpool. I know I already blogged about my gratitude for only spending $74-$76 a month, when some people are spending that every week now, or maybe even more frequently, on a tank of gas. I used to be a casual passenger, because I couldn't totally give up the freedom and convenience of driving myself. But my Honda has sat in my driveway now for quite a few months. I can't even remember the last time I filled up the tank, since when I do use it, it's to either go to the library or the grocery store a mile or so away.

I now take the van home at night and bring it back to the park & ride in the morning to pick up the other riders. Being responsible for getting other people to work on time has pushed me to have a better work ethic. I used to stagger in to my old office 15 minutes late, and it was only a 10 minute drive. Now I'm early to work with a commute 5x as long.

In addition to the van, I'm grateful for the 4 other certified drivers in my vanpool who don't hesitate to take a turn at the wheel.

Mary has fast become a good friend. She's a young librarian for the state library across the street from my building. She is a great storyteller whose vocabulary I envy and admire. We're both avid readers, fans of The Office and Lost and fierce competitors on MarioKart.

Bob is a Southern gentleman, complete with an Alabama drawl. He's an industrial insurance adjudicator for Labor & Industries and he's my go-to-guy for all things mechanical and electronic and he's equipped with all kinds of tools! That he lets me borrow without hesitation! When he found out I built my own computer, we added all things computer related to our list of things to talk about. Some may find him a bit of a know-it-all, but he does really know quite a bit.

Robin is this brusque woman social worker with a big heart. She can't remember a name to save her life, and she can't tell a joke to save her life either, but she tries. She also has a habit of sharing too much information, using euphemisms like, "Sorry I'm late, I had to drop the kids off at the pool." And even though most of us figured it out but just chose not to comment, she still had to ask, "You get it? Drop the kids off at the pool? I had to use the bathroom...." WTF?!

The newest driver is Margaret, an auditor with the Department of Revenue. She's a middle-aged South African woman who has the cutest of giggles. I love her curious turns of phrases, which actually is just very proper English. She's so short, when I get in the driver's seat after she's driven I have to adjust the rearview mirror from giving me a good look at my neck. When she drives it's a bit like riding a roller coaster, and we all make jokes about kissing the ground when we exit the van.

Without these folks, I'd be one tired, miserable commuter. So for the van and for the drivers, I'm grateful.

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