There is a quick shuttle ride that I take which brings people from Times Square to Grand Central Station and vice versa. This is part of the New York City underground subway system. I have taken this ride more times than I can count. I have seen all kinds of people on this quick trip.
I have seen everything this city of mine has to offer, right here, enclosed in a few subway cars, which is literally fascinating to me.
I have seen the junkies and the drunks. I have seen the homeless and the basic degenerates. I have met the common scam artists and the basic, everyday worker that takes this quick ride to and from. I have seen the suit and tie guys and the blue collar Jim’s.
I have seen everyone here. I have seen love here. I have seen hatred here. I have seen the trans-gendered and those that stand nearby with their nose turned up, judging everyone on the subway, as if theirs was a better way of living, but yet, everyone has a few skeletons hiding in their closet.
I have seen the tired and the poor, the wealthy, and the up and coming. I have seen the youthful and the young adults, just turned 21 and ready to take on the bar scene. I have seen the pretty and the ugly. I have seen the little debutantes that come in sparkling and head home drunk and sat on the floor in the stations, stockings ripped, mascara running, and their hair all a mess.
I have seen the sports fans that make their way from Grand Central in their hockey jerseys, heading over from Grand Central and then to Times Square to either hit the subway and go one stop over or walk 7th and head to Madison Square Garden.
I watched a woman be arrested once. She was one of the regulars on the shuttle with a story, asking for money. Usually she was a widow with two children but she claims to have three children sometimes, especially around the holiday season.
I watched as the police took her away in handcuffs for whatever the reason might have been. I watched two young suit and ties laugh about this as if this was funny.
As I made my way over to the steps to reach the ground level, I accidentally tripped one of the suit and tie guys on purpose as they passed me (If you know what I mean.)
I see the same 9-5 faces here doing their same 9-5 thing, day in and day out. I have seen dads bring their kids to work. I have seen moms take their kids in for a city adventure.
I have seen the tourists that have never been to New York before, and yes, they are as obvious to me as the smell from the hot dog stands on the corner of 42nd and Vanderbilt.
This quick little subway ride makes wonder sometimes. I wonder about all the stories I see. I wonder about the inestimable lives that come on and off the subway cars, each with their own little world and all with their own story. I am sure there are cancer survivors and survivors of war. There are stories of hope as well as demise here. And I wish I knew more. I wish i could tell their stories with hopes to do them justice.
There is the leftist and then the conservative. There is the pro-life and the pro-choice. There are opinions galore on this subway.
I am sure of this.
There are those that come aboard and no one would know what goes on behind their eyes.
There are the functionally sick and obviously unhealthy. There are those in their hi-priced outfits, dressed to impress, newspaper tucked under one arm and a coffee in the other hand to look important, and yet, meanwhile, their entire lifestyle has just been washed away because some tech stock took a dump.
And meanwhile, there is a guy in boots and a union sweatshirt, hands are filthy, dust and dirt in his hair, and a bag of his tools with him —and those standing around would look at him and think about his hard life; meanwhile trade W2’s at the end of the year and I wonder the surprise. I wonder the surprise people would find when they realize this man doesn’t use his tools for the food and friends. No, this is his way to afford his lifestyle, which has probably been judged by his appearance.
I have seen so much on this subway ride. I often wonder if the lights were off and this were a stage, and suddenly, the spotlight comes on to one of the passengers. He or she (or whichever) would deliver a soliloquy, which is an act of talking as if alone, but to the audience at the same time.
I have an idea about this, which I am about to explore. At least, I hope so.
I think about the times I used to pass the theater where the play “Rent” was held. I think about the writer of this play and how he never made it to the play’s big debut. I think he died either the day before or the day of his big debut.
Well, truth is I don’t want that to happen to me.
Best I take care of myself and best I begin to nurture my plans because if anything ever happens, it will only happen because I made it so.
I know this because of the faces I’ve seen on the shuttle. I’ve seen the same ones over the last few years. I noticed how so few of them have changed, which means if I want to make moves, I have to make them. Otherwise, be ready for the mediocrity of 9-5 living.
No thanks, folks.
Not for me