My Daily Commute
It’s 05:50am as I put my gloves and helmet on ready for my commute. This is my last commute as i am moving to a new area and suddenly I’m aware of how I see the same people everyday on my commute and I feel a twinge of sadness that I shall never see these strangers again. The clock on my bike reads 09:50am and I’ve never figured out how to change it. This clock has been wrong for so long that I can glance at it anytime of the day and know precisely what time it is without even making any calculation to get the correct time. I look at it with some nervousness, eager that I should not be late and miss my last sight of the strangers. I push my motorbike down the footpath with the engine off and then jump on on it and let the momentum carry me down the hill. My exhaust is obnoxiously loud and I don’t want to annoy my neighbours so I always aim to start it 500 metres down the hill out of earshot of the neighbours. It’s at the bottom of the hill where I come across the first stranger. He’s a labourer type, wearing an orange high-vis vest over a dark hoodie. He stands there by the side of the road every morning presumably waiting for his lift to work. We exchange looks as I start my engine whilst slowly gliding past him. He must wonder why I first ride my bike with the engine off and then start it at that point. I ride down to the T-junction and take a right turn towards the Jewsons depot and sure enough as I expected the eldery Nepalese couple are walking past the depot, the woman behind the man. “Why do they never walk side by side,” I wonder, “must be something to do with their culture.” When I and my wife grow old together I want us to be like this couple, taking walks together every morning while the world is still sleeping. As I head towards the A444 and then turn right at the roundabout. I’m glad my new commute will have no roundabouts because negotiating roundabouts in this icy weather on my bike makes me nervous. I ride down to the set of traffic lights and as I filter to the front of the queue of cars waiting at the red light I am disappointed to see that the Honda man is not at the front of the queue. I call him the Honda man as he rides a Honda motorcycle and also because I have never bothered to ask for his name in the same way as he has never bothered to ask for mine. I met him a year ago at these very same traffic lights and we started talking almost on a daily basis. It started with a simple discussion of the weather but a year later our conversation covers topics such as the best motorbikes in the market, lockdowns and brexit. We only have under a minute talk before the lights change to green and we both race off to our respective places of work. Then when we meet the next morning at the traffic lights our conversation carries on from where we left it. Maybe I should have got to know him a little bit better, maybe we could have gone for a lesuirely weekend ride in the summer. The lights change to green and I take the backroad into Bedworth town centre. I could have taken the bypass road just like the Honda man does every morning but in the morning I always feel that this back road is quicker. When I ride home after work funnily enough I always feel like the bypass is quicker than the back road. As I ride into Bedworth past the Tesco store I see the second labourer type of guy. He wears the same green hi vis jacket every morning as he waits for his bus to arrive. The scowl on his face telepathically tells me that I am an idiot for waking up the entire town with my loud exhaust. I take a left into the Lidl car park in order to avoid the traffic lights and through the glass of the Lidl store I can see the cleaner sorting out the buckets in the corner of the building. I use him as a marker of my progress because if I don’t see him in that corner that means I am late for work. I head out of Bedworth to the industrial estate where I work and as I enter the estate I encounter the last stranger. He always is carrying a backpack and is always running. I would like to believe he is running for his health but he is dressed in work uniform so that theory belongs in the bin. Another theory I have is that he is running to catch the bus home after finishing his shift but that theory has problems too. Is it possible that this guy is late for the bus everyday? I don’t think so. I settle for the theory that he probably lives nearby and is running home to get into bed as soon as he can. And so my Commute comes to an end as I pull into my workplace.