If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll shove off for the Big Apple late Monday afternoon. I’ve been enjoying moments of advance thinking, which is the sort of thinking you do before moving onto something bigger than where you are now.
(This next is strictly parenthetical: let’s hope that at least one more person—ahem—dude, a certain large wealthy dude, is doing some heavy-duty advance thinking.)
Mass transit is wonderfully communal. It puts us all on some common ground for a little while. We get to hang out with the people who live in our town, see their faces, listen to their voices, see how they interact with friends. We get to witness humanity in action.
For the whole of last July I was in Brooklyn, in Ditmas Park. I rode into Manhattan on the Q train every day, but Saturday was really a treat, because everyone on the train was excited and effervescent. Kids were talking and everyone was smiling. The energy was hopelessly contagious. That’s how New York is anyway, but on Saturday mornings, watch out. Everyone’s in high gear, really cruising.
Another very cool item is the amount of privacy people naturally appropriate while they’re on the trains. New Yorkers must be the least self-conscious people on Earth. They’ll comfortably share private moments with each other as if no one else is anywhere nearby. They know the value of time. And they know the value of action.
This post is taxing my attention. It’s late. It’s time for a parting shot.
Truth: I love giving up my seat on the train. Yes, you read that right. Unless I’m totally shot and it’s late at night, when a woman walks onto the train and has nowhere to sit, I rise from my seat and motion for her to take it. It gives me one of the most uplifting experiences I’ve had while riding the train.
There’s the beauty of the city: you get to love someone in public and you don’t even know who they are. And you may never see them again. But you’ve exchanged something precious: your humanity. Your smiles. Your hearts. This is good stuff, friends. It may just keep us out of a war.