the last commuter before Christmas

14 Masa’il 165 B.E.(Baha’i calendar)
Soundtrack in my head: Jewel, “Silent Night”
City Village Light Christmas
un-perfekt / Pixabay

Christmas Eve is one of those in-between days that people haven’t quite figured out what to do with. Is it a holiday or not, or is it maybe a “half-day?”  For me, it was a regular workday.  Which didn’t really bother me.  Normally, we have Christmas Eve off, but because Christmas falls on a Thursday this year, we have Friday off, too to make a four-day weekend.  Thus, even though one of my housemates seemed shocked to see me trudging to work this morning,  I was perfectly fine with working today. 

It was a very busy morning.  I kept on getting phone call after phone call and fax after fax.  The end of the calendar year tends to be a busy time of year for us, and I have been working overtime since about Thanksgiving.  So I was surprised when, at 10 a.m., one of the managers came around and announced to everyone that we would get to go home at 1:30 p.m.  But then at 1 p.m. the same manager called us together and apologetically told us that there had been some miscommunication and that we would have to stay until our normal day’s end, which for me is 4:30 p.m.

Honestly, I wasn’t really upset, but it was interesting to observe myself and others.  As it got closer to 1:30 p.m., I found myself getting more excited and having a difficult time concentrating.  But once I learned that I had three more hours of work ahead of me, I went to lunch at my normal time, and when I came back I found myself able to focus more than before.  It helped that the phone calls and emails suddenly stopped. I was able to get significantly farther with my work that day than I thought I would.

I was surprised to learn that Madison Metrobus would stop running its buses at 6 p.m., which made me one of the last commuters.  Usually there are several people waiting at our bus stop at the end of the day, but today it was just me and a temp worker.  We boarded the No. 11 bus, and the bus driver remarked that we were his first riders ever since he began his rounds at about 3 p.m. 

The bus dropped me off at Capitol Square.  Normally the Square is crowded with people waiting for their transfer bus, but today I was literally the only person waiting at the bus shelter there.   There was a small pile of snow by the curb where the snowplows had come by–not impossible to step through, but still, I was surprised no one had shovelled it.  Perhaps they figured that not enough people would be riding the bus today to make it worthwhile.  Within a few minutes a No. 38 bus picked me up.  Normally, at this time of day, the bus is packed with commuters going to Madison’s East Side, but today, I was one of three–count ’em, three–riders.

This year, for the first time, I am going to be celebrating Christmas at my co-op house here in Madison.  Amazingly, upwards of eight of us will be here on Christmas Day, including the daughter of one of my housemates and  the five month old baby who lives here.  Perhaps there’s so many of us here because there is only one student in this co-op, and the average age here is about 36.  In a little while we’ll be having our house dinner and afterwards the plan is to put up Christmas decorations.  Tomorrow we’ll have brunch and then perhaps watch a couple of movies. 

I like that I’m celebrating Christmas in Madison this year.  Madison is my adopted hometown, why shouldn’t I celebrate here?  To me, there’s something very Christmas-like about Wisconsin.  I plan on doing some walking around the neighborhood tomorrow and taking in the sights.  And it only seems natural that I celebrate Christmas with my fellow housemates in the intentional community that I call home.  This is home, and it only makes sense that I be home for the holidays…

2 thoughts on “the last commuter before Christmas

  1. Isn’t it odd to be one of so few in an ordinarily crowded place? I think I’m one of about a half-dozen people left in my 100+ apartment building. It almost seems kind of post-apocalyptic (oh, the cheeriness! Merry Christmas!). Have a wonderful holiday in Madison. I agree about Wisconsin seeming very Christmas-y. I will be up here for the holidays as well and I will send warm thoughts and wishes your way.

  2. Friday was my last day at work before we came up here to Michigan, and it felt weird to miss out on this week… somehow it seems more like Xmas when you can see things slowly shutting down for the holiday. Sounds like you’ve got plenty of company at your place, and I’m glad to hear it. Hope you have a great day and Merry Christmas!love, Wendy

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