Friday, November 20, 2009

The Art of Adaptation

It's my last day in last day in this building today. This means it was also my last commute. People in the office keep telling me how lucky I am that my house is only ten minutes from the new building. I agree, to some extent although I do prefer to think of it as strategic planning, rather than luck.

Also, I'm actually no longer opposed to a commute. I was when I first moved back to Ohio because commuting in Los Angeles is enough to kill the joy of driving for anyone. Seriously, the mere fifteen miles of distance from my apartment to my job could take up to an hour and a half on a bad days. Thus, moving back and living in the same town as where I worked was quite a novelty. Then I moved and the office didn't and I was back to a commute.

Yet, this time, the commute was steady. It rarely differs in time at all. It's a straight 45 minute shot and it's about 26 miles from home to this office. That's not a bad drive. Also, it's pretty. Part of the drive is an interstate. Then my exit takes me to a two lane highway that eventually slims down to a one lane highway. It's primarily rural so, especially at this time of year, the scenery is beautiful with all the trees, leaves, greenness and quiet.

Since I've been listening to audiobooks, the commute is something I almost look forward to because it's like my own private time to 'read' and relax.

That time has reached its end for now. I don't mind because for someone who complains about getting out of my warm cocoon of a bed as frequently as I do in this blog, a ten minute commute is rather a luxury.

I think, more than anything, it proves you can get used to anything if you do it enough. I think that's why they call it adaptation. We can all adapt, even when we least expect it. For example, my aversion to a commute has gently become an enjoyment. I think there are a lot of things in life like that, when you stop to think about it.

It's like cooking, for me. Until recent years, I viewed cooking as something that was necessary to do unless I wanted to eat out all the time. I never counted microwaving as cooking. Yet my cooking was basic, usually involving something pre-packaged. Then, slowly, thanks to Iron Chef America, I began to be interested in food. Now, I cook. I get excited about kitchen gadgets and I love to try new recipes. I've even implemented an 'unusual vegetable of the week' routine. Generally, I go to the grocery store or a market and buy something I haven't cooked with much. Then I attempt to find a recipe that incorporates it. Recently, I've tried things such as rapini (broccoli rabe), escarole, swiss chard, fennel, turnips and spaghetti squash. Some of the recipes work out, some don't. Yet it's making me try new recipes and since I adore vegetables, it's a fun way to make something healthy as well as occasionally delicious. I have a great swiss chard recipe, if anyone's interested.

Anyway, my point is, I got used to actually cooking instead of the semblance of such. I started to care about my knives. I started to use prep bowls and zesters. I think now I've finally reached the point where I'm almost snobbish. Take garlic for example: I used to buy those jars of minced garlic. It was still fairly fresh and it was easy to measure. Then, I bought a fresh garlic and learned how to push down on it gently with my knife to make it easy to peel. Then I began to chop it myself. Now, I can't use any other type of garlic. I still have a little jar of the minced but even when I'm in a hurry, I end up chopping my own. I love the way my fingers smell afterward. I love the slight stickiness it leaves on my fingers. It just feels wonderful to make a dish in which everything is fresh.

Yet, if I'd have written this a year and a half ago, I would have thought I was out of my mind. At that time, I still used garlic powder as a substitute. I thought there was no difference between fresh herbs and those dried ones.

I've come a long way. Cooking has become part of my life. I adapted.

So, you see, I think it's about perspective. My commute once seemed an evil prospect. Now I'm saying goodbye to it, I'm a little sad. I liked that time to decompress after work. It was a good time to call my mother and let a little steam off about my workday. I can still do that stuff but I'm going to have to find a new way to do it. Perhaps I can finally start exercising again because I'll have extra time in the evening.

I'm not fond of exercising, particularly in the winter. It's hard to come home when it's cold outside, peel off my layers of warmth and then strip down to change into workout clothes when all I really want to do is ladle out a bowl of beef stew and sit in front of the TV. Yet, if I do it enough, perhaps I'll get used to exercising again. After all, as I've said, it's really just a matter of perspective. If I start to like it, maybe I'll keep it up. I just have to adapt to the idea, that's all.

But, for today, I have one more commute left: The commute home.

I don't think that's such a bad thing though, do you?

Happy Friday and have a good weekend!

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