The subway is your friend.
Until it isn’t.
And then the subway is your mortal enemy.
The truth, my friends…is that the subway…is your frenemy.
Please read this carefully, as this is A Really Important Lesson. Especially if you entertain any notions of living in New York City.
The subway will ACT like it is your friend. Like it is a charter member of TEAM YOU! It will lull you into a sense of confidence and trust. As if it will always be there in your need. But if you allow yourself to fall for it, my friend, the real fall will be much harder.
Like any classic dysfunctional relationship founded on lies, the subway will toy with your emotions…allowing you to partake in that uniquely New York sensation that can only be described as “Subway Euphoria”, which begins when your desired train shows up just as you reach the platform, almost as if you two are “in this together”. It will get you to your destination on time, perhaps with even a few minutes to spare. Oh the wonders of drive-free travel, you’ll marvel! Your day will be off to a positive and lucky start.
This is Step One in the dance of deception.
Because the subway is your friend. Until it’s not.
The day will come – and it WILL come – when you get to the subway and…with no warning…the train is “under construction”. Suddenly, 25 minutes have passed as a cruel wind blows icy knives into your bone marrow, and your painstakingly-planned day is melting before your wind-burned eyes, which have yet to see a train. And you lose your audition slot. The one you got by waking up before the sun and for which you’ve spent days preparing.
But you’re no victim…no sir! You are a thinker and a doer!
In New York, you’ve got Donald Trump, Woody Allen, a crack addict and a regular Joe & they’re all on the same subway car.~ Ethan HawkeSo you think you’ve solved the problem the next day by leaving a full hour early. The subway meets your challenge, taking precisely 57 minutes to get you there, so you manage to reach your audition in a state of utter despair and drenched in cold sweat. Or – this is cute – the subway arrives JUST as you reach the platform, and for a moment, you allow yourself to sigh in relief. You think “Today, we will be friends…The bad phase is over”. THAT is when the subway will stop. In the middle of nowhere. For no discernible reason. And just to be absolutely clear about who’s in charge, it will keep stopping. A frenemy is nothing if not expert at keeping you off-kilter. Sometimes, just for fun, it will simply assume the speed of an elderly man walking with a cane.
And once again, you will be making the sweaty death march through the streets of Manhattan, trying to make up for time lost that you cannot possibly reclaim through humanly attainable walking speeds.
Finally, on that day when you just can’t muster up enough energy to care whether you get to where you’re going… when your heart is all hoped-out… when you wear your pre-determined defeat like an accessory…. you know what’s coming don’t you? That’s right. The subway. Right on time. As if nothing ever happened between you.
Because the train is your enemy. Until it’s not.
This, while not the only lesson I’ve learned in Year One In New York, is one of the most searing.
You have been warned.
You can enjoy Eileen’s dramatic observations by stopping by anytime, no subway/taxi/bus/car necessary, or by subscribing to her blog. Like the N/Q line, she’s always around on no one’s schedule but her own.