Tiny Triumph of Scheduling

"Mr. Teutonic Efficiency" — yes, sometimes (OK, often!) I over-obsess about avoiding waste, walking lightly on the Earth, following the shortest path, pinching pennies, and so forth. This silly preoccupation leads frequently to frustration when things don't go as planned. But at 5:33am one recent Tuesday it pays dividends as I'm walking to the Metro, the start of my workday commute. A quarter mile down the road, where a few seconds after 0530 (yes, I've timed it) the traffic light flips from flashing yellow to normal red/green mode, I suddenly realize that it's Garbage Day and I haven't taken out the trash. Oops!

I pause for a few seconds. This is where schedule knowledge comes in handy: going back home, I reckon, will take ~4 minutes if I hustle; ~1 minute to lug cans to street; ~4 minutes back to here, plus another ~9 to the subway station. No way to make the 0545 train, no cushion for delays, no slack to grab a cheap Senior Coffee at McDonalds. But the 0554 train should be in reach, just barely, if it's on time. That gets me to Metro Center where, if the switch to the other train goes within normal bounds, I'll be able to race up the long Rosslyn escalator and catch the 0641 bus with a couple of minutes to spare. Reverse Engines — Full Astern!

Back home, drag trash containers to curb, rush down hill, over bridge, along sidewalk ... and make train, transfer, bus. Yay! As George Peppard used to say on The A Team, "I love it when a plan comes together." And a few days later a bonus: again striding pre-dawn to Metro, near the cemetery I spy by streetlight's glow two frosty-gleaming one-dollar bills on the pavement. Whee! Such small victories, such big thrills ...

^z - 2011-02-12