Commuting as an experience.
It’s about a 10 minute walk from the subway station to my office. The simplest way is to take the main streets around the outside of the block, populated by office and retail buildings, as indicated by the red line.
The more interesting way is to take the green line, through the block, into the housing, and the urban fabric. If I hadn’t taken this route, I would not have discovered that there is a bakery at the first turn. You can smell the freshly baked bread as you approach it. It’s a point in the trip that is anchored by smell. I pick up a croissant for breakfast there.
Another reason I prefer this route is because there is less noise. I can hear my iPod better. There is also less people, and feels less like a rat race to get to work. I can take my time.
What’s interesting is that there are quite a few others seem to share my preference and have found this route through the block. So the lesson here may be that optimal is not the necessarily the best for all. There will be others that will seek a more rich, different, or in this case peaceful experience over the simple, optimal but noisy experience.
As for me, I just like the smelling fresh pastry in the morning.