This morning as I waited for the L train, it dawned on me that I had become a jaded New Yorker. You see them everywhere, and I’m convinced that if you’ve stayed in NYC for more than three years, you are doomed to become one.
I remember the days when I worked at OFFICIAL. Just an 8 minute drive from my house in Greenpoint, I never had to deal with the subway at rush hour. I actually enjoyed being on the train when I took it, which was usually mid-day. I loved people watching, and there was always some kind of interesting soul to be intrigued by.
I remember one particular day that I got on the 1 train, around 2:00 in the afternoon, and there was a self conscious looking black man dressed completely in white. I mean, head to toe. I mean, boots and shoelaces painted white, white trench coat, white pants and shirt, white hat…even white mascara! He looked like he was wishing everyone wasn’t staring at him, though his clothing screamed for the opposite. I smiled at him, and it seemed to brighten his spirits.
About one year later, one block from the same subway stop I got off that day, I saw him again. Still in all white. When he saw me walking towards him, his eyes lit up, as he smiled and waved enthusiastically. He remembered me too. Because of a simple smile.
Now, three years later, I do take the subway to work at rush hour, and it sucks! For the past week this is my average morning. Leave house at 8:20, arrive on Bedford Ave L platform by 8:35, first train comes at 8:52 and does not stop, next train arrives at 9:00 and only 3 people squeeze on, at 9:05 I’m finally on a train, and already late for work. As if that half hour production isn’t enough, at Union Square the line for the 6 train often goes up the stairs, causing me to walk the rest of the way.
Now the jaded New Yorker that I am, I walk into the office every day saying, “I hate the subway!” I miss the times of my mid-day train journeys, when there’s no one pushing you for the seat you weren’t trying to sit in anyway, no old men with noses dripping on the girl in front of them because we’re packed like sardines, no pole leaners who think their backs have first right over everyone else’s hands.
I envy the tourist who wanders around NYC easily throughout the day as I sit here crazy at my desk, already annoyed by the morning ride and not expecting a great one home either. I want to marvel again at the beauty of this utility, this thing that is part of what makes NYC so great in the first place, not hold contempt for it.
I guess what it all boils down to is I need a break for a NY minute…some time to get out of this inevitable New York state of mind…that of the Jaded New Yorker.