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Slipping into darkness

August 27, 2014

The first day of summer is a joyous time of the year, plans of long days, warm nights, fire flies, reading books in the hammock, building sand castles on the beach. All the plans of summer lie ahead and the excitement that goes with them, waiting to unfold. The commuter, however, as much he or she enjoys the beginning of summer, knows the joy will be short lived. Every day after the longest day of the year we lose eight minutes of sunshine. Every day comes closer to slipping back into the darkness. To the commuter this will mean eight months of dark mornings and even darker trips home. When the snow comes, I feel like I am living in Alaska, waiting for the thaw.

Something about the lack of sunshine not only depletes our bodies of vitamin D, it also dulls the brain. Consider my own experience one morning upon climbing on board the 5:10 out of Port Jervis. As I walked through the cars to my seat in the third car, I looked down at my feet for a second and noticed something terribly wrong; my feet were going the wrong way! Eyes blinking in disbelief, I thought they were playing tricks on me, I do admit they are blurry some days. Upon closer inspection, they were pointing the wrong way because my shoes were on the wrong feet. Before I could take a step, I noticed in front of me the conductor, who was now looking at my “wrong-way” shoes. “Rough morning huh?” was all he could say before passing me.

Yes, the mornings can be rough, but this was just a typical morning. I find solace knowing I am not alone in having issues with dressing in the dark. One morning the guy seated in front of me still had shaving cream on his cheek. Other mornings, you see guys with the buttons on their shirts done incorrectly; leaving the top one floating above their tie is another sign. It is not unusual to see women putting on their makeup on the train or with curlers still in their hair. Daily, someone forgets his or her wallet which holds the necessary train ticket, or leaves a bag in the car altogether. I have seen drivers bolt from moving cars to make the train, leaving it still in drive as their spouse tries to get behind the wheel. One Monday, a weekend resident realized her pet carryon was exceptionally light and then realized she had left kitty at home and was carrying an empty case. Kitty might have enjoyed the week left alone in the country, but a quick phone call to a neighbor saved the day. Let’s not forget the text from my kid complaining that he got my yogurt in his lunch bag, meaning I had his Jell-O (not always a bad trade).