“The line was gigantic at Dunkin this morning,” says the girl in front of me in my 10 AM, still jingling her keys.
“Oh my god, I got a ticket this morning. Suffolk cops are not like Nassau cops,” replied another, opening her packed breakfast.
“I almost missed my train; my mom locked her keys in the car before dropping me off!” said the third, hand resting on the top of the rail pass hanging from a lanyard around her neck. They all nodded, knowing the same pains of commuter life.
I have no idea where Sayville is, and I know of a singular beach nearby Stony Brook. And I haven’t a clue what anyone here does for fun besides go to one of the three Walmarts within6-mileile radius of campus, or hike.
But, I can assume that 90% of my classmates are about to walk to South P after the hour and twenty minutes is over, although I’ll think they’re just heading to Tabler until they make that left turn.
I understand that the commuter lounge is ugly and terrible, the vending machines have almost nothing of value, and dining dollars only get you so far. I have immense sympathy for the two job juggling double majors, whose cars just broke down and moms still need a ride home from work, but little can compare to the feeling of waking up on a Saturday and walking to West Side Dining through a post-apocalyptic concrete world of silence and desolation.
A maximum of five people can be found on campus on weekends, and they’re all waiting for a train to take them home. Oftentimes, I find myself worrying if something terrible has happened, and that’s why the dining hall lights are dimmed and they’re serving everything on plastic plates at six o’clock on a Friday. Was there a fire? A bomb threat? Is a football game going on? All three?
Admittedly, I can cross the intersection in front of Roosevelt Drive without the fear that a commuter is going to decide that I’m walking just slowly enough for them to make that turn, leaving the front outsoles of my sneakers burning and slightly thinner. There’s no standing in the Shop Red West store for me, I can just hop over the counter at Starbucks, roast my own beans, and finally not have my grande cold brew taste burnt.But even the joy of dancing naked in circles around the SAC bus loop eventually falls flat to the bone-chilling sense of imminent death when walking through Roth Quad on a cold, foggy day, fully anticipating the slow crawl of the Roth Ness Monster, waking from his pre-midterm hibernation, ready to snatch the souls of those who haven’t ubered home for the weekend.
From commuters to residents who still do their laundry at home, no one knows the true pain of having no car, no license, nowhere to go and nothing to do from Friday afternoon to Monday morning except walk around your empty suite in just a bathrobe and eventually FaceTime with your dog who’s sleeping in your bed, 426 miles away.
I miss you, Castiel, sleep well and I promise to push my inevitable demise via the pond monster to another day, another weekend.