A friend once told me, "It seems like everyone is starting their day at 8 am?" Like hundreds of other New Yorkers I am also a part of that crowd rushing as fast as the wind in the busy street every morning. After living in New York City for years, I've slowly become accustomed to this fast paced lifestyle. Besides, whoever has been a part of this rush has traveled the underground New York City transit system at least once in their lifetime. It is a fact that every New Yorker at some point has been on a subway train, especially the working people who travel early morning while they yawn their way back in the same route.
I always used to hear about rush hour and wonder. They all said the same thing. "Its not that fun." And now that I travel through it myself, I can't always agree. As I observe, there are some things that make me smile, some things that make me laugh and some things that fills me up in rage of anger and rave like a lunatic. My ride of fantasy and loud clashing crowd is about forty-five minutes long every morning and evening. In light of all this, I'd like to share some thoughts in a special rush hour style.
If I land in a seat, I like to turn my head phones with a soft track and just shut my eyes and buzz to sleep. Other times, I would just flip through a vogue magazine or read a Sparks novel. Usually, just like every other passenger at 8 am this is how I and others keep ourselves occupied but something that always makes me look up is when I hear giggles and non-stop chatter from a group of college friends. They make me smile, as flood of memories unleash in front of me, and for a brief moment I find myself reminiscing my own college days, fun breakfasts with pancakes or during lunch time sharing a chicken or lamb gyro with my good old friends. My morning is filled with double excitement when I meet these students from college, because with them they bring good memories.
Something that I hear almost every morning is a list of endless excuses from the D.O.T. to explain the train's slow progress, which means I am late for work. Fire on the tracks, rain on the tracks, snow on the tracks and trains up ahead (on the tracks) with mechanical troubles. The good part of this scenario however, is the sense of shock, awe and amazement we feel when we can actually hear and understand what the train announcer is saying. Their voices usually seem very far and faded away.
Probably the funniest part is observing the parents with their children, and when the parents pay no attention to their little ones and turn their heads as if they are not the mother or father and from there on they start running into circles around poles screaming at the top of their lungs. They eventually fall and crack their heads on the hard plastic seats and the look of astonishment and concern that suddenly fills the parents' faces are the ultimate outcome. It makes me laugh as I think why the realisation and concern comes so late?
Then there are those group of people who decide to sleep even if they are standing and they lean/fall over and over and over again. This reminds me of horses. Perhaps, the strangest thing that has happened during the ride is discovering that the person sitting across from you has been staring intently at you when you raise your eyes up from reading or sleeping and the uncomfortable staring contest that ensues afterwards.
I can never forget that one strange day when upon entering the 'F' train that suddenly turned into an 'R' train, and the announcer repeatedly warning to get off and then at a connecting stop we just got off and transferred, and then upon catching a 'R' train that's turned itself into an 'F' train. Confused? Yes, I was too. This is very rare and may only occur just on days when its raining, snowing or other emergency rail road problems.
Looking on the other side, rush hour means meeting very serious and career-orientated people. When I first started college, my dream was to graduate someday. And now that I've finally graduated I focus on new goals, and its headed to a new direction. My new direction has led me to the rush hour, and meeting these people.
These New Yorkers are struggling everyday, to bring a change, to get somewhere and become someone. They encourage and lift me, and send me a silent message in my mind that if there is a will, then there is a way.
I love this crowd. I find myself, just like everyone else rushing somewhere every morning, running with a cup of coffee and newspaper and walking very fast as if a criminal was chasing me.
Despite the chaos we can't escape the fact that we are completely reliable on the subway system. At the end of each day, I am thankful to the system for the easy ride. And, yes I can't deny but admit that I enjoy every part of the entertainment.