Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Trenton Makes, Commuting Takes (Time)

Time can be used or wasted on a train. The R7 (stagecoach) from Philadelphia to Trenton (and back again, out of the station endlessly rocking) provides many hours of reading pleasure, opportunities for photographs (of Philadelphia's changing rubblescape), and simple delight in commuting to read. Now that I have logged at least 18 hours a week for the past four months, I have completed a novel a week. Two changes have taken place: I can no longer read in a place that does not move; I can no longer read short stories. Wait, let me qualify the moving part -- I have not tried to read on moving vehicles outside a train or a bus -- the ferris wheel and helicopter remain questions. I do read shorter journalistic pieces between novels, mainly articles that suit the length of the ride. New Yorker mag is perfect for travel, except that the laugh-out-loud pieces sometimes prove to be socially complex. Bruce McCall, Patricia Marx, and Cursing Mommy's Ian Frazier are great company, especially on delayed trains, when they entertain and make me forget that I do want to pull out my hair. The New York Times crossword puzzle is also a diversion, and as much a survival tool as a Clif Bar. I travel too long and too hard and too hungry sometimes. I am sick of the stagecoach.

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