Whit’s End: New commuting patterns may draw us closer
“An adventure is what otherwise could be called a hardship if it were attempted in a different spirit. Turning a difficult task or a perilous journey into an adventure is largely telling yourself the right story about it.”
— Laura Miller
I set out on a new journey Monday, along with the majority of Garfield County residents. We’ve altered our habits and explored alternative ways to get from point A to point B in the face of the Grand Avenue bridge detour.
I acknowledge, it’s easy for me to see this as an adventure rather than a hardship. I live in Carbondale and work in Glenwood, so the commute works in my favor. Even so, Miller’s words have been on my mind.
As I strolled down Carbondale’s Main Street Monday, the neighborhood seemed even brighter and more welcoming than it does from my car. Another woman and I expressed surprise over people’s insistence on dumping unwanted items outside of the Near New Store. Although we scoffed at others’ behavior, we also celebrated the ways we can recycle otherwise unusable items. We bid each other a good day and smiled as we parted ways.
The Carbondale Circulator was several minutes away, so I ducked into Bonfire Coffee for a cup of Joe to go and a copy of my own newspaper. (I love that people can read online, whether article by article or in the e-edition. But I will probably always prefer print.) As I approached the bus stop, the fuzziest dog I’ve ever seen greeted me.
Fifteen minutes into my new commute, I was enchanted.
This week has been filled with such moments. The buses I’ve ridden to and from Carbondale haven’t faced much traffic, it’s true. But traveling the streets by foot and alongside other bus riders has given me yet another perspective on this community.
Thanks to free bus service through much of Glenwood Springs, I’m among the masses even while running errands. I’m prone to keeping to myself when in a crowd, but the detour has thrown us together in new ways. When I boarded an already crowded bus alongside several other women Tuesday, several male Holy Cross Energy employees leaped up and offered us their seats. The bus flew past backed-up Grand Avenue traffic, and as it did, my bus mates celebrated the experience. Many of them had another bus to catch once they disembarked at the pedestrian bridge. No matter; on this day, at least, it was an adventure.
With 90 days of detour ahead, I hope we can work together to embrace that attitude. Perhaps our close proximity during rush hours will leave our community even more tightly knit.
Carla Jean Whitley is the Post Independent’s features editor and an unapologetic optimist. Like you, she’s still figuring out the best ways to navigate the detour. Share your Grand Avenue Bridge commute stories at tinyurl.com/gabdetourtales.