The above picture was taken Wednesday,
Christmas Eve, at about 7:30 a.m.
I was half way to a morning swim practice
on the far east side of Indy, a trip that spanned
nearly the entire metro area, west to east.
I've commuted by bus to work and to just about
everything I want to do, every event I want
to attend, for virtually my entire working life.
Of those, only the first job involved just
one bus ride from home to work and back.
Everything else has involved two rides, taking about
two hours one way. In that amount of time,
I could drive to just about any one of the state borders.
"Get a car," you say?
Well, when I was more naive, I believed that success,
like that of folks who worked in Manhattan,
involved having your own apartment and taking
the subways to work. I got that part of my dream.
However, here in Indiana, having an apartment
and taking the bus relegates you to the category
of "poor life decisions." While I knew early on
I didn't want an over-priced mini-McMansion
or a gas-guzzling SUV, I didn't realize just how much
I was denying myself opportunities to enjoy this city
by not having a car. However, earning enough money
to support said car also seemed a thankless task,
one eternally beyond my means.
When I joined Indy Masters about eighteen
months ago, I did so with trepidation, just wanting
to improve my swimming skills to help me lose weight.
I had no idea that it would become such a part
of my identity, not only helping with weight loss,
but with issues of confidence and self-esteem that
have plagued me my entire life. Participation
in the practice sessions has led me to
the thresholds of other places I want to enter;
at a point in my life where most would think
I should be kicking back to enjoy my "idle time,"
I am trying to to achieve my biggest,
most illusive dream, to become a "working artist,"
with gallery exhibitions added to my resume
with embarrassing regularity.
I would also like to become a really
good swimmer, one who can look at a span of water
and know she can swim across it successfully.
And I want a car.
I missed the IAM Holiday Party last weekend,
only to find the Head Coach, Dean Hawks,
had inaugurated a new award, the Wyoming Award,
which I found I'd earned because of my near-daily
commutes to practice. Coach Dean migrated
to Indy from Wyoming a couple years ago.
I guess he thought my bus rides were nearly
the equivalent of driving across Wyoming to get,
well, anywhere. I joked it should become a
"traveling trophy," but I think I will put it
on the front bumper of my first car, and I will take
both trophies to practice with pride.
Thank you, Dean. Thank you, George. Thank you, Mel.
Thank you, Brian, the only person who knew
the details of "two buses and a half-mile walk."