Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Subway Withdrawals

I no longer have to take the subway to work.  I can walk.  I can take the bus.  I can ride my bike. Or I can take a bus to the subway.  I now have an embarrassment of options. 

The walk is normally gorgeous.  Populated in the mornings by canines and their caretakers, Central Park takes me in.  The change in the seasons refreshes, but I switch up my path in order to keep it fresh, to try to lose the familiarity (which is impossible without allowing years to pass). A creature trying to destroy all habits, like a squirrel saving cigarette butts, is unnatural so more often than not I default down the same wide walks, hearing every morning that one dog who sounds like an alarm (Arooo, arooo, arooo-- in perfectly timed intervals).   

In the rain, I take the bus to the subway.  The populous bus, the fed accordion bending around wide turns. Quite. Out the windows: the city.  A more or less polite experience.  People seem far less likely to ____ you on the bus.  Fleeting, accessible bus.  

Just a few months away from the subway and I already feel like a foreigner.  Do I stand here or there? Underground the pressures build. Outside the windows: tunnels, darkness.  Inside the car someone let leak the hostility that comes with being trapped among strangers.  The subway is a case study in claustrophobia, paranoia, fear of the dark and agoraphobia all at once.  A body is weighed on the subway, measured and ignored all at once.  Swipe the Metrocard and submit. Or act out. People seem much more likely to _____ you on the subway.

That conditioning lies dormant.  The jostle, hustle and anxiety of it all.  The publicity of strap-hanging and anger management. Here we go, leg to leg with the rain-wet masses.  The unpleasantness creates its own range of desires, it's own moral compass.  Revisiting the subway makes me realize I miss it, like a retired cop misses his spot on the bomb squad.  That little touch of morning adrenalin as the cars clatter and screech.  People can grow accustomed to all kinds of unsavory things.  I miss the subway. 

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