SEPTA and my “me time”

When I first moved back to Philadelphia at 16 years old, I had had very little experience with SEPTA (the public transportation system in Philly) – at least by myself. I was used to riding a yellow school bus every day. I had ridden SEPTA with my mom all my life, but I didn’t have to worry about schedules, fares and passenger etiquette. My mom took care of all of that. (I did get to ring the bell though.)

There was no yellow school bus for me once I moved to Philly. It was the number 32 bus that drove me downtown. But it was okay. My cousin and I left together every day. I still wasn’t alone.

My real SEPTA adventures didn’t start until half-way through my sophomore year – when I transferred to a new high school. While my cousin walked up the hill to the number 32 bus, I would walk down the hill to the R7 train. The train would take me to the number 23 bus and then I would safely arrive at school.

It didn’t take long to master the transportation system. In these pre-internet years (do you remember those?) I would gather bus and train schedules as if they were life lines . . . Because they were. Those schedules combined with my weekly bus pass equaled my freedom . . . My independence. And I savored it.

I learned quickly that my transpass gave me “anywhere privileges” on weekends. I traveled back to the suburbs to visit friends or to Andorra to see a movie or downtown to go shopping.

As my uncle has often said, SEPTA never made a dime off of me. That $17 weekly bus pass took me everywhere.

There were several factors that played a part in my decision not to get my driver’s license, but the ease of SEPTA was definitely one of them. Why spend the money on a car and insurance and gas when I had my handy dandy pass? Why worry about having to pay attention to the roads and other drivers and weather conditions when I can sit back, relax, listen to my walkman and read a book?

I think that is the real reason I have never wanted to drive. Riding around on public transportation has always been my “me time”.

Last year, I spent 4 hours a day traveling to and from my daughter’s school. Because kindergarten is not mandatory in PA, the Philadelphia School District will not pay for kindergarten students to take a school bus. It was grueling and I longed for 1st grade when all I’d have to do is walk her two blocks to a bus stop.

Well, I guess the grass really is always greener on the other side because now, I’m kind of missing my bus and train rides every day, or rather, I’m missing my “me time”.

In the summer of 2010, I started reading the Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I was instantly hooked. I admit to a bit of shame every time I searched out her books in the Romance section, but this is a series about vampires (that do NOT sparkle), Greek gods, Atlantis, dream worlds . . . basically, all of my favorite fantasy elements rolled into one series . . . and it worked! By the end of the summer I had read every book in the series and every book that was a spin-off of the series (about 17 or 18 of them).

All of last year, I would spend months jonzing for the next book. I’d buy it the day it was released, hop on the train and start reading. Within two or three days of bus/train rides, the book would be finished.

I just opened up my day planner and saw that The Guardian will be released on November 1st. Which is actually kind of sad because I still haven’t read Retribution, which I bought in August.

I need to find a new “me time” . . . a new special place, even if it’s unconventional, to sit down and escape into my books for a little while. I need an excuse to not be crazy super busy all the time. I miss my books!

***I wrote the first part of this on the notepad on my phone while riding the train a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t know where I was going with it so it sat in the “works in progress” folder on my desktop. Tonight, I was talking with my cousin and she mentioned how she was waiting for the kids to go to bed so that she could finally finish the last book in the Twilight series (and sorry, Tara if you’re reading this . . . I had to take the stab at vampires who sparkle :D). And then when I opened my planner to see the next Sherrilyn Kenyon book coming out, I knew I had to tie all of that in with my SEPTA piece. Do you have any special and unconventional places or times that you use to escape and relax?***

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26 responses to this post.

  1. I can really relate to this one Dayle! I do my grocery shopping late at night because its always super quiet, rarely any line ups and I don’t have to rush home to be any where. Weird “me time” but it works! Now if I could just read and shop…..that would be ideal!!

    Reply

  2. “Those schedules combined with my weekly bus pass equaled my freedom . . . My independence. And I savored it.” … I love this part because I relish any moments of freedom and independence I can come by. Reggie has been watching the girls for a while almost every day so that I can have at least an hour to myself. It has been a lifesaver … quite literally a sanity saver.

    Reply

  3. “Why worry about having to pay attention to the roads and other drivers and weather conditions when I can sit back, relax, listen to my walkman and read a book?” … Sounds blissful to me! “Walkman,” he he. That’s funny. 🙂

    Reply

  4. “I need to find a new ‘me time'” … Amen, girl! I can’t wait to hear all about what you figure out. I have found mind! I go downtown to the art studio. It’s usually closed, but I sit on the bench out front or go next door and sit on the concrete. I write, take photos, or just breathe. 🙂

    Reply

    • I think I’m going to pick one a day a week to try and do something like that. Even if I just ride the train downtown and sit in a park . . . or even on a bench in the train station when it’s cold.

      If I’m feeling extra brave, I might even leave my cell phone home when I do it!

      Reply

  5. Posted by Ginny Layton on October 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Running is my “me” time. Lately, I’ve been a little lazy or tired, so it’s been 15 minutes instead of 30. But it’s all about being outside and listening to great music–songs from college days, my life as a professor, high school days, break-ups, dating. . .any part of life B. C. (before children). I sing, I run, I reminisce–and feel, as Shawna posted in her blog, “I’ve had a little date with a former self.”

    Reply

    • Ginny! I’ve miss you! How have you been? I hope everything is going fabulously in your life!

      Music always brings me back to past times as well. I vaguely remember that line – “I’ve had a little date with a former self.” Very appropriate 🙂

      Many, many years ago, I would take regular walks along the bike trail around the river. It was a wonderful escape.

      I love your B.C. line 😀

      Reply

    • Ginny, I’ve totally been in a ’90s music mood! Listening to it takes my soul right back to being like 19. 🙂

      My current blog playlist is very heavy on Sarah McLachlan and Sheryl Crow. It makes me feel young and carefree, if only inside my brain.

      I can’t wait to read your novel. I’d love for you to blog, even if your posts have to be short.

      Reply

  6. I might have to check out Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books…they sound like my sort of book…Have you ever read Laurell K. Hamilton’s books? My niece Beckah got me into them, it’s another Vampires that don’t sparkle series about Anita, the Vampire Hunter…she kicks butt! 🙂
    Since I was old enough to drive, I have lived in a smaller city where I am sure they have buses, but they are definitely not as popular and it’s actually easier to get everywhere with a car here…but if I lived where you lived, that would make sense and $17 a week is definitely cheaper than gas for going all over the place in one week so I can see the lure. I try to remember to take a book with me whenever I go anywhere where I will have to be waiting a while, like doctor’s visits, but otherwise, I am stuck reading at home in the bedroom….occasionally in the big leather chair in the living room when my husband is being lazy and demands the light be turned off in the bedroom….and I hate sitting with a little light to read!

    Reply

    • I think you would really enjoy Sherrily Kenyon 🙂 The Dark-Hunter series, Dream-Hunter series and the Chronicles of Nick all have cross-over story lines and characters. She has other series as well, but I’ve never read them.

      I read the first Anita Blake book, but was never able to get #2 and I have this thing about reading in order, so I never continued the series. I have, however, read every single Meredith Gentry book! (Unless a new one’s come out that I don’t know about . . . I have to go look now.) If you’re not familiar, it’s Laurell K. Hamilton’s other series about faeries . . . I love mythologies and the characters, though it does sometimes feel like I’m reading porn 😛

      Bus passes are $22 now, but still a hell of a lot cheaper than gas and insurance!

      Doctor’s offices are another great place for reading!

      Funny enough, when I was reading on the train, I read more frequently at home too . . . mostly because I would NEED to finish a chapter!

      Reply

      • I know of the Meredith Gentry books and I have the first 7, I believe, but haven’t started on them yet. I have read every single one of the Anita Blake series…I see her faery series is risque as well then judging by your porn comment LOL

        I HAVE to read in order, too, and I had a hard time finding the second one originally as well…..my niece Beckah has ALL her books, though, so she let me borrow them and that was how I was able to read them all. I bought the Meredith Gentry ones I have so far from Half Price Books when I was in Austin so when I actually start reading them, I will be able to have most of the series already. I guess I will have to see about reading one of the Sherrilyn Kenyon books and see how I like them! 🙂

        Reply

        • As far as I can tell, there are only 8 Merry Gentry books so far, so you have a pretty good start!

          If you’re intent on reading in order as much as I am, then you have to read “Fantasy Lover” before starting the Dark-Hunter novels. “Fantasy Lover” is technically not a Dark-Hunter book, but it comes before the Dark-Hunter series and introduces several recurring characters 🙂

  7. My “me time” really isn’t unconventional, but it’s the only uninterrupted time that I have to myself. Every morning I have a 25 minute drive to work. I’m alone just me and my thoughts. I think about what I want to blog, or that novel that I hope to write someday. It is so nice. 🙂

    Reply

    • I’ve heard other people tell me that driving relaxes them and gives them a chance to think . . . and all I can think about is that there’s another reason the world is safer with me not driving . . . I KNOW I would end up running the car off the road!

      I think it’s awesome that your drive to work is a peaceful time. I love when periods of time that many others would find “wasted” can end up being extremely pleasant and productive 🙂

      Reply

  8. Dayle, darling. I’m ready for your next post. : )

    Reply

  9. Hellloooooo. How long is a little while?!

    Reply

    • Apparently, about 4 1/2 hours 😀

      Funny, I was in the process of finishing it up when I saw the email for your comment! I’ve spent the past several hours trying to catch up on a couple of blogs while getting work done for two clients . . . these things happen when you spend the first 2/3 of the day sitting your wazoo!

      Reply

  10. You are SO lucky, Dayle! I have the hardest time reading while riding moving vehicles — for some reason, I also get nauseous. In the same way, I find that I need an “excuse” to designate “me time” because I hardly ever just give myself time to read. The last few times I’ve read it was because I was sick, there was no Internet, or I brought the book with me somewhere knowing that I’d have to wait for a long time. =P

    Reply

  11. […] tomorrow). Some happy surprises have come my way today. And I even devoted 30 minutes last night to reading my book! Overall, life is good. Just like it says on my […]

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  12. […] actually half-way through my book and I even bought the next […]

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