This actually happened.

14thstTrains

written by CORY MULRONEY

7:15 a.m. — Brooklyn.

Alarm rings. Eyelids flicker. Not yet. Snoozing.

7:30 a.m.

This parallel alarm meets a similar response.

7:45 a.m.

Eyes open.

The program begins to reboot.

Loading… loading… error.

“Rehydrate!” it screams as you fumble for a stale, dusty glass of life the giving liquid.

Boom! Up you get boy! Stumble out of bed and into the shower. Wash away the sin from the night before. Is that a stamp? Is there ink of your wrist? You bastard… Get clean damn you!

7:55 a.m.

A brief unsatisfying encounter with that wet, hygienic process and you’re out the door.

Wait…

Wallet… Keys… Phone. Check!

8:00 a.m.

Three floors of stairs and now the outside world around you. The inner city surrounds. There’s little sign that it has even missed you.

It takes exactly eight minutes to walk the four blocks from your cross street to the nearest subway station and into the sweet embrace of the coffee shop at its entry point. Since time is precious, the dialogue need never be more than simple interaction. Direct, efficient. That’s the New York way.

“Small coffee.”

“Two dollars.”

“Thank you”

8:10 a.m.

You exit stage left. There are others around now. You notice them in your peripherals.

The pace quickens. The subway beckons. Its entry point; like a black hole devouring everything in its proximity at increasing speed. Holding human matter in a trance-like state of suspension. Then, catapulting it out into new space and time with complete ferocity.

You enter the cavern. 25 steps to the usual spot, iTunes blaring through the headphones narrating your thought process. Like clockwork the train arrives in minutes. But until then whatever happens, don’t make eye contact. Look down, look left, and look right. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the window. You look good right?

8:15am

Blinders on, you begin weighing up others in your peripherals. This city runs on peripherals. In a world without space the need for territory is exaggerated. Primal instincts buried beneath layers of manners, civility and common courtesy begin to stir.

Competition is king. Size up opponents, seek out potential mates. You notice a pretty girl. Do you think she’d sleep with you? Nine million people to choose from. The guy on your right has better style, but I bet you could beat him in a fight.

Minutes have gone by before you realize that all this internal dialogue, punctuated by the rhythms of psychedelic Rock and Roll, has done everything in its power to protect you from the awkwardness you first felt as you boarded the vessel.

8:25 a.m. — Manhattan.

The second the carriage door jolts open, droves of humans begins pouring out like ants from a nest defending an intrusion from a destructive child. They’re on a mission. There’s no time for weakness, only time to focus on the steps to the next train. Hurry. Hustle. But never run. Never break a sweat. Make it look easy. That’s confidence. That’s control. Large deliberate strides will leave them drowning in your wake.

The herd is moving now and you are leading the pack. The tunnel to the next platform directs the current into to an ocean of humans buzzing at different rhythms, darting about like particles in all different directions. If we could watch the center of an atom, this is what it might look like.

subway-nyc

A collision would be disastrous. Atomic. Catastrophic. Yet somehow amidst the chaos it will never happen. The omniscient and completely non-existent arbiter of the hive mind demands the respectful half-lean when passing others, and you would do good to follow his instruction. Keep right, walk with conviction, commit forwards and relax the shoulder as you pass them.

8:30 a.m.

You escape the nucleus of 14th street and Union square station. The river of people is flooding down a new corridor swallowing up new arrivals and silencing internal dialogue. It crashes down the staircase onto a fresh platform and the process repeats. Next train arrives. Enter the carriage. Don’t make eye contact. Turn up the volume. 25 minutes.

8:55 a.m. — Brooklyn.

Old borough, new neighborhood. Up the stairs, out of the mayhem and back into the ether as you resurface. Boom! Sunlight hits your face as you exit. You remember it well. Panic begins to set in as the countdown to punctuality begins. You can make it!

Walking at the speed of a jog your feet oblige as if they are operating on the own accord. Women, children get out of the way. You’re going to make it no matter what the cost. Your iPod is screaming electro murder now as the bass kicks in.

The end in sight, the workplace beckons. So close. Almost there. You reach for the door handle… Boom!

9:00 a.m.

The clockwork falters. Time comes crashing to a halt. A familiar but seemingly unnecessary presence awaits.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

“What do you mean? I’m here. I made it. I’m on time.”

Silence.

“We swapped shifts remember?”

Pause.

Scanning… Error. Memory alarm rings. Heart breaks. Your eyes roll in disgust as you flee the humiliation.

9:05 a.m.

Back to the subway. Back to bed. 55mins. Snooze.

[images sourced via Tumblr. If any of these images belong to you, please let us know because you’re awesome, and we’d like to provide proper credits/remove image(s)]upon request.]

 

Comments

comments