Thursday, July 10, 2008

A better balance

bal-ance: (noun) a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

I made a somewhat disheartening discovery this morning: I seem to be losing by transit-balance ability.

I never really thought this would happen. I just figured riding transit was like riding a bike and that you never really forgot how to juggle coffee, a book, a gym bag and an iPod while standing perfectly upright on a constantly lurching streetcar. But my abilities are slipping, due to the fact I almost took out some woman standing beside me when the streetcar jerked forward and I was neither holding the vertical bar (that's for rookies anyways) nor bracing myself with my feet (my standard).

Transit-balancing is an art, though, and something I have been working on all my years in Toronto. Now that I am at a job that doesn't require transit travel, I'm just not using those skills I've worked so hard to hone and it's showing. The paradox, of course, is that I relish being able to walk to most (if not all) destinations, personal and professional, as I tend to dislike transit in general and the TTC specifically. But there will always be those occasions when I must board the streetcar or subway or *shudder* bus and I'd rather not wipe out once aboard.

So now when I am forced to ride "the better way", I will channel the memories of smugly walking to the back of the streetcar and wedging myself among the throngs of passengers clinging desperately to any available handhold, knowing that I have the superhuman ability (work with me here) to plant my feet securely and withstand all jerking and lurching while calmly reading my book and drinking my coffee while deftly selecting whichever song I please on my iPod and staring pitifully, from behind my sunglasses, at those poor riders who have yet to fully develop their transit-balancing skills.

Yes, I was once there and I will be there again. I will not only get these skills back, but develop them to new levels and make all other transit riders envious of my abilities.

Or something like that.

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