(Right click here and open in a new window, then come back and read this with the music as a soundtrack)
I took my last ride to work this morning. I'm starting a new job next week, and tomorrow is my last day at this one. I'll need to drive to work tomorrow to carry out my personal effects, so riding isn't really practical.
I'm going to miss this aspect of my old job, the commute, that is. I live 10 miles from work, and my daily commute takes me through the bucolic idyll of Boxford and North Andover, as well as the frenetic schizophrenia of downtown haverhill. I can even put together a 50 mile ride that zigzags through north andover, boxford, georgetown, groveland, and haverhill.
I will be able to ride to work at my new job, though with a distance of 28 miles doing the full commute every day would rapidly invoke the law of diminishing returns. The hiring manager is actually the same engineer that hired me into the last company I worked at before where I am now, and did so with full knowledge of my _need_ to ride. He said "I know the commute by bike would be difficult, but you could do the park-n-ride thing like you did before". When I worked with him before, I would drive to a commuter lot, then ride the rest of the way. He was one of the few people that appreciated that and even encouraged it at my last job.
My new boss called me out of the blue a few weeks ago, and asked me if I was interested in a change of scenery. I replied "sure, when do you want to set up an interview?". His response was "We don't need an interview, you're the person I want. If you want the job, you can start when you're ready". He and I got along very well when we worked together, both personally and professionally. He's been putting together an engineering team for his department with people he knows and trusts. There will be four other people in his new group that I've already worked with.
With the new commute I'll have the thrill of commuting through the heart of Nashua, as well as the rural towns of hudson, pelham, and windham. When I _do_ ride the whole 28 miles It will involve Salem and the rural section of haverhill as well. As of now, a full week of commuting miles (and no other riding) is 100 miles. With the new job that will be around 250, if I can manage three full commutes during the week. Typically though, it will be around 150. I've tried riding a full commute week at that distance before. That's tough. No, riding 30 miles each way isn't hard, but couple that with a week of trying to actually work 8 hours in between, and by the time thursday afternoon rolls around, swinging a leg over the toptube is a chore. It is for me, at least. I know guys that do it now, and the have my admiration.
Notice how I haven't really written about the job? I won't miss it. I'll miss the commute and the convenience more than anything. Truthfully, this job has been a forgettable experience. There is little camaraderie here (never has been), the technology is boring, and with the recent acquisition of the company by an international conglomerate the morale is low (yes, "the writing is on the wall", as they say). It says a lot about your job when the thing you'll miss most is the short commute. The new job has a much broader scope of responsibility, with more interesting technology.
Don't get me wrong. There are quite a few people here I like, and a few I'll genuinely miss. Generally speaking, my co-workers are nice and friendly people. However, by and large, I can't really say I'm more than a friendly acquaintance to more than a few people, and even the closest relationships have never progressed to the point where people have their co-workers over for cookouts, or even go out for drinks after work. In the past 5 years, I've stopped by the local watering holes on a friday after work, and only once have I seen a group of co-workers - they were senior managers from a different department. Not exactly the type of people that would have me as a drinkin' buddy. Nonetheless, There are no doubt people here that will utter Good Riddance upon the knowledge of my departure.
So I rode in slowly this morning. It was a nice morning - a bit cooler than I like, a bit more wind than I like - but still pleasant. I've often taken a slower ride just to appreciate the ride either to or from work though, so it isn't like I didn't already appreciate it, just that today held the melancholy of finality as well.
So this afternoon will be my last commute from this job. It's a nice day, I think I'll take the long way home.
(you didn't seriously think I'd let you go out with fucking violins, did you?)