If I were a woman living in New York City, I can’t imagine ever having the time to shave my legs.
This is the first thought that sticks to my cerebral cortex, followed by many.
I swivel my head around on a lazy Susan; spinning with possibilities.
Men with long hair, kissing women with short hair.
Vacuum cleaners in garbage bags.
What would this look like from atop a tall building?
Probably not much different than an ant colony, just with more color and less productivity.
Everyone here has parents; a thought I struggle with momentarily.
They aren’t just here, living within this finite moment - stand-ins cluttering my now.
They won’t just evaporate the moment we seperate.
They’ve existed and exist.
They are each created and cared for by other people, and after I leave, they each will go on, just in different directions.
I look around for eye contact.
Trying to connect.
Trying to understand,
But we are all somewhere else.
Ignoring the present, the here and now, locked in on only where we want to be, where we are going - rarely ever where we are.
This moment only happens to exist as something between two destinations.
I stand gripping a metal pole with the familiarity of a stripper and the strength of an NYC fire fighter.
I pretend to be surfing.
I make up stories for each one of my fellow passengers.
I give them names.
I’ve decided where they’re going, why they’re here, and what’s for dinner.
I am God of the M train, at least for a few city blocks.
The air is stagnant.
Oddly still for a place restless with so much motion.
Was this same recycled air here for my father and his father to take in?
It tastes like humans trapped, and all types of friction.
Am I breathing in what my father breathed out, decades earlier?
Exhales; hanging thick and heavy like a cole train’s smog,
Weaving in and out, patternless like the melody of a Coltrane song.
A lot of people look sad, really sad.
I think it’s probably hard to feel important with this many people around.
Maybe small, relative rations of “behind-closed-door-importance”, but never publicly so.
That kind of stuff is reserved for people who don’t ride the train.
I, instead imagine everyone on the day they bought the shoes they are wearing.
For some that was hours ago, and for others it’s been years.
But the small spark of joy, of a want fulfilled, of something new and all for themselves - makes each one of them smile, And for a moment no one’s sad.