Mark | Corporate Accountant | 40

Friday. Fri-yay. My second favorite day of the week, after Saturday. Fridays are usually chill; fewer people on the public transit systems, and people are generally in a better mood than the rest of the week. I scheduled my meetings with the Doc on Friday nights, mostly so I could avoid social interactions. “Can’t,” I would say. “Have to meet with my therapist.” It was a very convenient excuse. Not that people were beating down my door to hang out on Friday nights, but that’s a story for another journal entry. I’m writing – typing on my phone, truth be told – this on the train as we’re barreling towards the first stop. This week had it all – stress, a day off, more stress, relaxation, reflection, commuting, work, and ice cream, among other things.

I think Doc was right about keeping this journal. It gives me something to do on the train, or while I’m waiting for a delayed train. It takes my mind off of things for a bit. It gives me a routine. I think I’ll tell Doc tonight that he was right about it.

I think Lois has noticed that I’ve been doing this every day. She usually gets on the same car as me and lately smiles when I take out my phone. Before I started journaling I’d just leave my phone in my pocket, listening to whatever music or podcast I was into that day. I’d zone out and stare out the train window at the sites, not that there was anything riveting to look at – construction sites, people’s houses, stores; you know – the suburbs. Pools, grocery stores, pet shops. The American Dream.

What am I up to this weekend? Laundry, catching up on some TV, and other sundy errands. Not exciting, I know. My birthday’s coming up so I should probably make plans, though any birthday after 21 really doesn’t mean much, does it? Maybe I’ll plan a trip somewhere. I’d love to get to California and just spend a week drinking wine and taking in the non-humid weather. They get WiFi on the beach in California, right? Technology + no work sounds like a happy birthday to me.

Coming Clean

Mark | Corporate Accountant | 40

Thursday. I never really thought about lying by writing. I also never thought that I could feel guilty for “lying” to my journal. I wrote yesterday that I was ‘sick as a dog’ and that my view was of my bed. The bed part was true; the sick part, not so much. I’ve had the day to think about why I wrote that I was sick instead of playing hooky from work. It’s not like my boss, Jack, would ever see my journal, right? I guess I should ask Doc tomorrow why I felt I needed to lie. Maybe I felt guilty for staying in bed for a few hours and watching Friends instead of going to work.

I should know by now not to feel guilty – I definitely got paid back for it. There was a stack of reports on my desk that needed to be reviewed, and a bunch of fires that needed to be put out today because tomorrow is the end of the month. #Accounting. Sometimes I think about starting real fires in my trash can.

As I’m waiting for the train Lois is reading a book on the bench behind me, and I don’t see Joe. Maybe he had a troup meeting, or decided to play hooky today. I’m laughing in my head about using the term “playing hooky” twice now. We adults over 40 should have a different term for that – I personally like “mental health day,” but it makes me sound even crazier than I actually am. Though yesterday really was a day to relax and just chill for a while. Whoever invented this five day workweek was a real dop. Full disclosure – I wrote something a lot more harsh, but like lying, I don’t like to curse via the written word; maybe I’ll gradually use dashes. Is it just me, or am I getting good at this journaling s***? Well, that was fast.

One of those days

Mark | Corporate Accountant | 40

Wednesday. Sick as a dog, so the view is from my bed. I’ve been following Twitter to see how the trains are running and the normal delays and nonsense seem to still be going on without me. I told the Doc I’d journal, rain or shine, sick or not so I’m keeping my word. Brevity is certainly the soul of wit, Doc.

It Was Nice While It Lasted

Mark | Corporate Accountant | 40

Tuesday. Well the week was off to a great start but today that all changed. I have a splitting headache, the humidity is still off the charts, and it’s now 5:45 and the train still isn’t here. The digital sign on the platform says “Stand By”, which could mean the train is around the corner, or in Sri Lanka. Doesn’t bode well that the next train scheduled to arrive on this track says “Delayed.” This is one of the largest rail systems in the country and any time someone calls in sick, there are delays and cancellations all over the place. Doc says I have to learn to let go of things I can’t control, so this is me… letting go. Journaling on the platform on my phone while I stand, sweat, and wait for the 5:35.

At least I’m not suffering alone. There’s Joe, ‘boyscout-like’ as usual, waiting down the platform. An attractive blonde woman who looks to be in her mid forties is waiting just a few feet from me – can’t tell if she has a ring on from this angle… And the woman I’ve dubbed “Lois” – an elderly lady, likely in her seventies, who just kinda looks like a Lois to me. She seems very sweet and is always talking to someone. I envy those people who can be effortlessly social, and Lois is a social butterfly.

And here comes the rain. The geniuses who created this terminal made it with a semi-open roof, so snow gets right in during the winter and rain, well whenever it rains. Hopefully this will break this awful humidity. Twenty or so days to go until fall, when things can hopefully chill out. I’m going to pop another aspirin, hope this headache goes away and try to take a cat nap on the train – if it ever comes.

The View from the 5:35

Mark | Corporate Accountant | 40

Monday. My therapist said I should decompress on my commute home and “journal”. Not sure if I’m doing this right, but here goes. The 5:35 train in “lovely” Krawen Nepp Station rolled up to the platform around 5:25. I knew this because it was humid as hell, and I looked at my watch as I was sweating through my suit. After a long day crunching numbers I really didn’t want to stand around waiting and sweating. This is probably one of the things that Dr. Hunter would classify as “small stuff” that I should probably just get over.

Anyway, I got on the double decker train and went upstairs to grab a single seater in the back (front?) of the car. I usually sit in the quiet car and listen to music or podcasts on my way home but now I’m adding this whole journaling exercise. When the doc told me to write about the things around me to decompress from work, I immediately thought of “Joe.” Not sure what his real name is, since I’ve never spoken to him, but there’s a guy I see almost every day, who looks like he could be a boy scout leader. He always wears a baseball cap with a backpack and looks like he could be out of a magazine.

I saw Joe get on the train but he was a few cars ahead of me, backpack and baseball hat intact. There were a bunch of people I saw regularly, and there are some interesting characters, for sure. There’s a woman who always talks on her phone, loudly, in the area between cars. She’s usually yelling at her husband or her kids and sometimes listening to her makes me happy to be single. Today this woman is asking one of her kids where his laptop is – apparently he left it at school. #FirstWorldProblems.

The conductor just came by to check my (digital) ticket. I always pull it up as soon as I get on the train out of paranoia – you never know when the conductors will come by to check. This is also something I’m working on with the doc. If the person checking tickets has to wait a few seconds for my phone to pull up the ticket, such is life. I just really hate confrontation and/or holding things up. #WorkingOnIt (#WOI – I like it, still coming up with some ‘journaling’ lingo). That’s gotta be a thankless job – working hard to check everyone’s paying their way and then having to fight with people on wrong trains or kids trying to get free rides. I always try to smile and be pleasant to the train workers.

Slotsberg, Garfield, Haddonfield… my stop on this express train is number 6: Longfellow. There’s always a mass exodus around Easthaven, probably because it has a great parking lot. Longfellow’s parking lot is not great, but I deal with it (#smallstuff). Pavonia, Brookdale. We’re pulling into the Longfellow station, and I’m hanging up the keyboard for now. This certainly made the commute a little faster and I’m definitely not stressed. Maybe that degree from that Ivy league school the doc has is good for something…