Door-to-door is about 30 minutes for me, so nothing too torturous. Not long enough to really be productive and not so short that it would be quicker to walk. There were regular faces who got on the same bus day-in, day-out who I probably knew as much about as I did colleagues who sat in the same office as me. I can hear conversations from one end of the office to the other, so from a few seats away on the bus is no problem (though to be fair, the background noise on the number 4 or 6 bus is such that what sounds to the speaker like a discreet whisper is in fact the decibel level of Bon Scott at the Apollo – a nice up-to-date reference there for the kids!).
I regularly listen to my fellow commuters, not craning my neck to eavesdrop, but just catching what’s happening in their lives. It’s never anything too important or life-shattering. Nothing too confidential or scandalous (well, I wouldn’t share the scandalous on here).
So many are face down in their phones the entire journey or in a wee dwam (a great word, I’ve always thought it rhymed with dram, according to Google it’s a long ‘a’ and rhymes with from) that they don’t notice their fellow travellers. It is a valuable time – the bridge between home and the workplace – a time to get mentally prepared for the day ahead or a chance to decompress on the way home (assuming you can get a seat).
Next time you’re commuting to / from the office (whenever that might be) or just commuting in general, look around you take it all in. Look up, see the River Clyde or the Scott Monument or…the sunrise or sunset. Never mind how much it has cost you, just think of its value. A chance to witness a real-life soap opera.