Below are some absolute gems on commuting.
First, the etymology of “commute” Americanized:
The word crossed over to use in a railway context in the US, where regular travellers began to swap day tickets for better-value season tickets; they “commuted” their daily tickets into season tickets.
Second, the concept of commuting as a “third place” to get stuff done away from home and work.
It was a new kind of time in the day: an interstitial mental space between home life and work.
And thirdly, the article explains how commuting via train is a mysteriously personal and more peaceful experience than any other commute:
And that, perhaps is why people go quiet in the underground. It’s the only time we experience a combination of 21st-century technology (the trains), 19th-century technology and vision (the tunnels, the network) and our paleolithic deep self. A person on the underground is experiencing the rare chance to be a 21st-century Victorian caveman.
I’m working on a book right now that compares how riding the train predicts many of the everyday things we see in life. Life is the insides of the train in slow motion.