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When I started my blog series Urban Nightmares, I was unprepared for such a horrific tragedy to befall American families right before Christmas. I don’t think I’ll be writing that series anymore. I am too scared and too sad. This week more than ever I am grateful to be spending with my loved ones. The commute this Christmas told me that everyone agrees. People seemed somber but friendly and courteous to each other, even at the airports, and my commute began on the day when Denver was supposed to get hit by a massive snow storm.

As I walked to the metro, I considered three things: Will my car get towed? Will my plane get delayed? And I must be the only dip-shit still hauling her luggage in a canvas backpacker’s bag.

The Car:
I just paid the DMV $165 in tickets, mostly for parking and the hidden camera sneakily placed at the bottom of a hill. At the bottom of a hill? Really? Dick move. When you are a freelance contractor commuting between three states on a daily basis, getting tickets is inevitable. I spend soooo much time in the car. It sucks. The streets in most neighborhoods alternate sides of the road where you can’t park for street cleaning on certain days, so if you are gone for more than a week and can’t move your car, you have to find the gem unrestricted spots and pray you don’t get towed. Or just suck it up and get ticketed. I chose the former this time around. Guess we’ll see when I get back.

The Walk:
After I parked my car, I made my way to the metro. If you are living in anyplace affordable in D.C. you likely need to hike a bit to get there. It’s about a 20 minute walk for me. Some of my friends would have told me the logical thing to do would be to take an Uber. Just push a button on your phone, and the GPS-based App black car service is at your door, but it’s expensive, and it was a nice day out. The sun was just beginning to set as I strapped my backpack on and started walking. I’ve thought many times about getting the roller cases that I’m suppose to have, but I just can’t find the fun in lugging those things down the street. Slinging on my backpack to me feels like hiking. Like the beginning of adventure. Somehow I can’t see Gandalf whisking me away to a magical land sporting a rolly case. I’m also putting myself back into Colorado mode, preparing myself for yoga and snows shoes and ski slopes. Before my body sits on an airplane for hours at a time, I like to warm it for the fun things that await me at home.

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The Metro Ride:
This was the time I noticed the most details about people. Their shoelaces, the consistency of the fabric on their pants. For under $3, the metro got me from my stop to the airport in 20 minutes, and it’s clean. What more can you ask?

The Airport:
Smooth sailing. Everyone was polite. No bitching at the security checks, flights were on time, it was great. I had one moment when I was walking through the terminal and no one was behind or in front of me. I was in this large hall filled with Christmas trees blocked by orange construction cones, and Bing Crosby was singing that weird Hawaiian Christmas song. I stopped. Looked around. Got creeped out and kept moving. Why the cones, I keep asking myself? Why?

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Touch Down:
Right into the cold cold. The tomatoes in my front yard in D.C. are still growing. There are still fall leaves dangling from the trees. I went from a 60 degree day strolling through the shops near Eastern Market with friends into a blizzard. It was a bit jarring, maybe because I don’t travel enough.

But who can complain about the cold weather when you have this to wake up to?

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No matter how bad a commute, coming home is always worth it. May you have safe travels and snowflakes galore. Merry Christmas!

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