Commuter Life.

Year Two. Lineholder. #SEA.

The server plunks down a cold mug of beer and I grip it with two hands, barely managing to whisper a heartfelt "thank you." The server nods, understanding. The hazy blue water is visible from the windows of Diamond Knot Brewery. In the middle of the narrow straight between Mukilteo and Clinton, the Tokitae ferry boat floats defeated, stranded because of a loss of power. The usual ferry flow of several hundred passengers has migrated to the brewery to wait out the commuting disruption.

It's been a long day.

I began the day in Boise, Idaho, crawling out of bed at 4:30am. My first flight took me down to San Diego, where I navigated a full flight of passengers with only one half-working coffee pot, a miracle by any flight attendant's standards. Next was Salt Lake City, where a freak snow storm slowed us down. De-icing, a rouge computer error message for the pilots and a cabin full of screaming toddlers and uncooperative parents left me frazzled and at my wits' end.

Luckily, after three long legs I was free with a solid two hours in lovely Seattle. Coffee with one of my best (flight attendant) friends and wandering through my old neighborhood reset my mood.

Before long it was time to start my commute: a car-share ride to downtown, the Sounder train to Mukilteo and the ferry to Whidbey Island.

Except the ferry isn't cooperating. And I'm sitting at the brewery next to the ferry terminal. The pub is full of island commuters, all waiting to get home. As I sip my beer in the corner, I notice something.

We are all here together.

Longtime island residents, families with kids running around, Navy guys, old hippies, and a few people like me: young twenty- and thirty-somethings who have left city living for the joys of ferry commutes, long drives through winding country roads and small towns. Island life.

Before long I am chatting with a couple from Langley and I feel at home.

Home is a fluid concept.

But it's staring to feel a bit more solid.


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