Today, it rained. While waiting for my second bus on my way to work, I had ample time to reflect “wow, this sucks.” My bus stop had no tree or shelter to hide from the rain under. I stood next to the sign, grumbling under my breath, shoulders hunched up under my rain jacket, convinced that this was the first sign of a bad day to come. Unsurprisingly, this train of thought neither stopped the rain nor summoned the bus any faster. This may come as a shock, but I’m not an especially patient person, and waiting for the bus to arrive is a daily test of that.
While waiting and stewing, I realized, not for the first time since moving to Chicago, how privileged I’ve been to have grown up driving everywhere. Any exposure to inclement weather came between the car and the door to my destination, or while traveling between buildings. Living here and relying entirely on public transport for my commute to and from work means that I will get firsthand experience with any adverse weather that may come.
And really, it wasn’t so bad this morning waiting in the rain. I had the foresight to stuff my rain jacket in my work bag this morning, which offered some protection and kept me from walking into work looking like a drowned rat. While it felt like forever, it probably wasn’t more than ten or fifteen minutes. Once I got to work, I was able to curl up under the blanket I keep at my desk, finish my coffee, and warm back up (although my shoes are still damp while I write this at lunch). Up until today, the weather has been pretty agreeable on my daily commute, and even today it was still warmish while it rained.
At orientation three weeks ago, we were advised to learn to sit in our discomfort throughout this year. I experienced that pretty literally this morning, not for the first time and certainly not for the last time this year. The series of events that led to me waiting for the bus in the rain this morning is a direct result of my privilege to take a gap year and do a year of service. I didn’t have to walk blocks and blocks, and once I got to work I could sit down at my desk out of the weather. I may only live here and be reliant on public transportation for a year, depending on where I’m accepted for grad school. Waiting for the bus in the rain or the snow or the heat, while uncomfortable, will not be my reality forever.
As I finish writing this blog post, it has started raining again, and may continue through my commute home. It may not be the most ideal weather to wait around for buses in, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world if I get a little damp.