Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I try to ride my bike as often as possible, but certain circumstances call for the subway. Somedays I spend entire days underground. Waiting. Transfers. More waiting. Delays. Pushy people, slow walkers, complete stoppers, beggars, crazies, hoods, suits, religious talkers. The smell of urine, fish, trash. An old man stares at me. A gay man eye-fucks me. Loud school kids giggle, complain, gossip. Lovers embrace, kiss non-stop. Babies cry. A man reads the newspaper his neighbor holds. Bad music issues loudly from headphones. Faces hide behind smartphones, books, games. A fat man yells about how women ain't no good. Nobody cares.

Five o'clock— Penn Station: madhouse. 34th Street: tourist infestation. Walking up and down the same stairs all day. Losing metrocards. Standing on a platform, pacing and hot. A twenty minute wait. The train is full, every single car. One giant people sandwich. Faces angry, bored, stressed, tired, sad, fidgety. It's a lovely summer day yet there is profound silence beneath the ground, where the only sound uttered is from the trains themselves.

Then a group of three young Jamaican men play a tune for the car on a set of congas. It is a solid groove, passionately committed. People smile again. They tap their feet. Applaud, drop money into a hat. Soon, the smiles fade. Back to home, back to sleep.

My bicycle beckons.

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