After 6 1/2 years of traveling the same commute, I've fallen into some deep habits. I always sit in the same car, on the left side of the train. The left side is where the sun is -- in the morning, heading south toward the city, and in the afternoon, heading north to SoHa. In the mornings when the sun is shining into the train, I sit with my face turned toward the light and my eyes open, as if to fill a tank inside myself with energy from the sun, to make it through the long day in my windowless office.
I always walk the same path from the train station to the office, too. Lately, I've been passing a lawyer I know from a case, every Monday and Thursday morning, about halfway through my walk. We pass on the same sidewalk, in front of the same building, every time. We nod and say hi and smile politely. That soundless kind of "hi", where you open your mouth and raise your eyebrows, and then close your mouth in tight-lipped smile. Finally, one day he said, "I guess I need a new routine," and we laughed weakly as we passed each other. After that I took a different route a few times.
I know every turn and bump on the train tracks between the city and SoHa. Even if I'm engrossed in reading, I can feel when we're getting close. I don't stand up to get off the train on the way home until we pass that place on the tracks where the two tracks merge into one, making the train lurch once and then rock briefly from side to side as it passes over the junction and causing any passengers who are standing to bump into seats and drop things.
Yes, I'm in a rut, but as I write this, I'm filling up with sunshine on Friday afternoon, on my way home. We just left the station. The train was full when I got on, so I'm sitting on the right side for a change, looking across the aisle and between the commuters on the other side, at the sun setting outside the windows. I'm heading home to my guys and my dog, with the whole weekend ahead of us. The sun feels good.