Great moments in summer subway commuting

by | Aug 2, 2007 | Blog, Memoir | 0 comments

I have written elsewhere on this blog about my fondness for the NYC subway. I stand corrected: while commuting daily to midtown during the morning rush hour for my class at New York University throughout July, I was forced to admit my fondness for travelling around the city by train is limited to non-peak times during spring, autumn or winter. A few recent summertime experiences should paint the current picture for you:

Perspiration crawling down my front and back as I wait on the platform for the next train. Holding the oily pole that countless other strange hands have already held as a tightly packed group of strangers hurtles along the tracks. Spotting the acute psoriasis on the hand next to my own on the pole, wondering where the rest of the flakes of his skin are falling, flinching, and realising there was no other section of pole available to hold on to. Smelling the Orthodox commuter some distance away, who was kitted out in intense humidity in full three-piece black suit, top hat and ringlets.

On the other hand, I love looking at what people are reading. Some are nose deep in the New York Times or the Post, others are reading poetry or Kierkegaard. Quite a few women are reading bodice-ripper romances. They are fewer in number than those reading the Torah, the Bible, or even J. K. Rowling. One young woman sat studying her Bible the other day while an elderly Chinese woman stood right in front of her, gripping the safety rail and swinging like a fragile pendulum as the carriage lurched its way downtown. It took some effort for the young women to ignore her “neighbour”. Do unto others, my ass.

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