Everyone on my team was encouraged to work in the office today if they felt comfortable doing so. So I took the train to work. It was weird. And weirdly normal(ish). I've been into the office three previous times since the pandemic started (discussed here and here), but I drove for each of those occasions and those visits did not coincide with my colleagues being there.
Last night I texted Chuck - my former train buddy who has still been regularly taking the Metra into the city - for advice. He recommended a good train (since the schedule still isn't back to normal), and also informed me today was the only day this week he wasn't going in. So I missed getting to see him.
This morning was a bit hectic. Among other things, I couldn't find my office keys. But I got out the door with Jamie and JB waving goodbye. At the train station I bought a coffee and nothing felt like it had been 15 months since the last time I did this. Once I got on the platform I realized I wouldn't be able to drink the coffee on the train, so since I was there early enough I just finished it before the train arrived.
There were a couple dozen people on the platform and most of them were not wearing masks. But when the train pulled in, it was entertaining to watch the synchronized mask-donning. I sat in the last car since Chuck had warned me the first car was getting pretty full lately. My car was probably somewhere between a third and half full. It did not feel uncomfortable. Getting out downtown, things were definitely busier than they had been. It no longer felt like a ghost town. Instead it felt maybe like how a day before a major holiday can be sort of quiet during normal times. It was nice to feel like things are returning to normal.
Work was work as normal, except in the office instead of at home. We had a team lunch together and even though I see all these people on video calls at least once a week, it was nice to see them in person again. At the end of the day a few of us grabbed some happy hour beers.
Then I took the train home again. Everything about that train ride felt like it could have been last week that I last rode the train, not last year. Weird how time works.
When I turned onto our block, Jamie and JB were in front of the house waiting for me. That was probably the best part of my day.