7 Command-NOTs of Commuting

blog 54Today’s post is a guest blog from my wife Katie.  She’s been commuting to and from work on public transportation for 32 days now.  Enjoy reading what she’s learned NOT to do...

  1. Thou shall not carry a travel coffee mug on the train. I can hear people around me thinking, “You didn’t finish your coffee before you left the house? Ugh.”  I get even worse stares when I splash around with a ceramic coffee mug. It seems like I’m drinking coffee for me, but it’s really a service I’m providing for everyone else, right?
  2. Thou shall not wear heels until absolutely necessary. Before 8:30am, I’ve already walked a mile between getting to the bus, train and office. So, in city living-like fashion, I wear flats to work and keep heels in my purse. Once at the office I try to catch an empty elevator and in a superwoman-like style, change into heels on the way up to my floor. I’m sure whoever is scanning the surveillance videos has a good laugh each day.
  3. Thou shall not be caught in the rain without an umbrella. When it rains in the city, a hundred people pop off the train and their colored umbrellas rise. I’m typically unprepared. But thanks to the hot-air hand dryers in the ladies room, I’m never more than 5 minutes away from being dry.
  4. Thou shall not expect air conditioning on the ride home. It’s a 50/50 chance that the train or bus will have air conditioning that day. When there’s no AC flowing, it looks like I just got back from the gym. Typically I would appreciate the ‘fit girl credit,’ except I’m in business clothes, which eliminates any possibility of coming from a work out.  In moments like this I think Brittany Henderson would tell me, “Sweat is weakness leaving the body!”
  5. Thou shall not be caught without your train ticket. Or else you get fined 100 Swiss Francs on the spot. Luckily, this has not happened yet.
  6. Thou shall not commit commuter social crimes. When on the train, tram or bus you must not eat food from your purse, stare too long, smile at a baby, make eye contact with anyone, sit too close to someone and whatever you do, do not small talk.

And after a long day, most importantly

  1. Thou shall not run for trains after 6pm. After a long day at work, I’ve vowed to never run after a train that’s about to leave the station. I can wait 5 minutes for the next one! Strolling to the station gives me time to reflect on the day, pray and it’s the perfect time to put my flats back on!

All in all,  I really enjoy the commute.  Here are a few pictures from my typical to and fro:

A picture from our window.  Our intersection is Zurich's hottest construction site and big bus hub.

A picture from our window. Our intersection is Zurich’s hottest construction site.

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The calm before the storm. A city bus on a Sunday night.

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The bus at 5pm on Monday afternoon. Packed!

The staircase of doom in the train station.

The staircase of doom in the train station.

2 thoughts on “7 Command-NOTs of Commuting

  1. So this thing about being fined without a train pass. Does that mean when you’re on the train or….like….anywhere? Nice post Katie!

    • Fortunately, it means when you’re using the train. Really, if you use any of the public transportation without a proper pass, and you get caught, you’re in trouble. Katie and I have been here for about 5 weeks now… We’ve been checked just once in the city. They always check the long trains (as they have hours to look through passes), and they only occasionally spot check the shorter trains.

      For example, Francisco came for a weekend. He got a weekend pass (probably $45). He could have just risked it and taken all the trains without having the pass. During the weekend, he never got checked. So, you’re playing a dangerous game by not having it, but you can definitely beat the house.

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