Robert on Rails

I had just boarded the train and was unpacking my MacBook to continue work on the geo-semantics Perl package, as the clock on the platform changed to 9:05.

During this past year, every morning was a race against time. First I had to take that short walk through the nearby park to the next tram station, taking line 18 towards the southern rail terminus. As usual, the tram was full of passengers, everyone looking tired, exhausted, wrangled out by the stressful city life.

A few stations later I would rush through the terminus itself, playing the daily guess-game which platform it would leave that day. When on the train, the conductor would rattle off the next stops through the PA, incomprehensible unless you already knew them.

The commuter train would then begin to glide out of the station, meandering for a few minutes through the extensive track system before it could pick up speed. Quickly it would leave the city outskirts behind reaching the long-stretched fields.

In spring you would see the occasional deer along the tracks, plenty of rabbits and pheasants. But now in winter they are all dead. Or in hiding, depending on your understanding of local wild life. And as the vegetation retreated, it revealed the ugly plastic garbage littering the tracks.

After a few minutes I would see Gramatneusiedl. Nomen est omen: This settlement/village/town/whatever looks the same way as an Icelandic pronounciation of the name would suggest. Still, I usually forced myself to get off the train there, only to walk to the shuttle bus waiting in front of the station. Once everyone was in, it would take us finally to the research centers Seibersdorf (ARCS) in a few minutes.

Then a short short walk over the campus, one flight of stairs and finally, yes finally, I could start the work day with a serious cup of coffee.

And in the evening, this was all the way back. The simple joys of commuting. But fortunately next year will be different and I will have more opportunity to reconnect to the city life.

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