The Daily Grind: Six Months, Part 3

I wake up at 8:00 A.M., sometimes earlier, Friday through Tuesday and take the necessary actions to make myself presentable to the street: shower, iron, dress. I take inventory of all the items I need for my commute and work day: ipod, cell, Metrocard, staff ID, apartment keys. The weather hasn't lived up to its winter-y reputation, but it has been cold enough not to be too uncomfortable wearing the two coats I recently purchased. So I put one on and secure my daily parade of belongings in my pockets and mandatory messenger bag.

Two flights of stairs later I am out the door and on the filthy street. Grand Street. I lock the building door unlike my thoughtful neighbors and head west half a block before turning right on Keap Street. I head toward the subway station beneath the Kellogg's Diner that has become a beacon of home for me. Down the steps and through the turnstile I wonder if I should take the unreliable G train which will, in an on-time world, make my commute a short thirty minutes or the L train which tacks on another ten and is usually sardine-packed. The G always wins. A less crowded train is worth the occasional lateness. Besides, my boss takes the same train and I often run into her. When I do, the commute is usually devoted to talking about our last-nights or plans for the upcoming.

When I don't run into her I turn up the ipod and take out the current book in my bag. Right now, it is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I've read more steadily since moving here. The book and the ipod give me an excuse not to interact with anyone; the novelty of people-watching on the subway has died from the constant barrage of people asking for money. The city has turned into a music video. I move along from song to song, image to image quietly making my own private urban landscape. This is what music videos should have evolved into instead of the lousy marketing commercials that they actually became.

The G takes me to the E/V at Court Square in Long Island City, Queens. The transfer is a small pause in what I am reading until I get to my spot on the platform near the payphone, where the second car will stop to give me optimum positioning to the escalator when I exit at 5th Avenue and 53rd Street. The Museum is a short walk across the street.

I am greeted by the receptionist and my friend, Jen, and I show my ID to the security guard as I say good morning before continuing to make my way to the sub-cellar and my office. I shed my coat and my other commuting requisites while I say good morning to my officemates: Megan, my boss; Melanie, an administrative assistant for our department; and Stacy, the Museum switchboard operator. Since I do not have a traditional Monday through Friday schedule, they are absent from my Saturday and Sunday routines.

My first task everyday (except Tuesdays when the Museum is not open to the public) is the Volunteer schedule for that day. Information Volunteers rotate through several positions during their shifts, personal requests have to be considered, breaks given and its done. It usually doesn't take more than fifteen minutes. After placing the schedules in the Volunteer Sign-In room (or Volunteer Clubhouse, as I like to call it) Megan and I head up to the Staff Caff (or Staffateria, as my roommate has so named it) to get our multi-grain toast with peanut butter and iced coffees. The rest of the day consists of emails, Volunteer scheduling, information collection and distribution, and "socializing" with the volunteers. I answer questions regarding museum happenings and show them where to find the answers in the information binder that I provide for them. We talk about our lives, recently seen movies, travels, and goings-on. Basically, Megan and I make sure that everyone is happy volunteering.

I take lunch at 1:00 P.M.

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