4-24-03, 8:25 PM -
I don't know why, but I prefer riding the subway at night. I suppose the obvious reason would be that it's less crowded, but I think there's something else.
For one thing, I'm awake. The morning commute is a sleepy blur, & the evening one is spent detoxing and thinking about dinner. Plus, nighttime train riding has a strange communal vibe to it. Everyone on the train is there for some reason other than work. We trade surreptitious glances as the car hurtles along.
Who knows where that prettied-up woman across the aisle is going? What about the Rastafarian with the big yellow box? Or the teenager with the headphones that got on at the stop where nobody ever gets on? Or the big honky with the spiral notebook? I see.
Spring is sproinging , and the city's beginning to look like it did when I arrived here from Texas nearly a year ago. The air has ceased its bone-chilling winter assault, and city parks begin calling your name as you pass. Women's bodies, once wrapped in puffy winter cocoons, now show shapely silhouettes, wearing clothes of choice, not necessity. Walks between subway stations become less hurried, and details once overlooked in huddled haste now give cause for lingering, for slowing down, for breathing.
It makes me glad that I don't have a car. Too much detail gets blurred through the glass screen. Lampposts, stubborn sidewalk flowers, forgotten bits of Old New York hiding in stair railings and building trim. And even through a glass screen, brief glimpses of long-abandoned subway tunnels, sometimes tantalizingly lengthened by unscheduled between-station stops when train traffic backs up.
There was a time, oh, about a year ago, when the thought of a train breaking down in the dark depths of the New York underground would have sent me into paroxysms of cold sweat and wide-eyed horror. Now I'd kinda like to try it. Who knows what I'd find as I crept through the dimly-lit catacombs, searching for an emergency exit that surfaced in some unused basement? But then, I've seen the rats. Ah, reality is a harsh schoolmarm. Whack, back you go.
We're now a week into the texas pre-sale, and I must profusely thank those who have made your orders. You rock like Tommy Lee's special rocking stick.
I hate to get all PBS pledge drive on the rest of my readership, but...well, YOU make this programming possible. The John D. & Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation has not been returning my calls, and so I turn to Viewers Like You. I hope you find it in your heart to support Po Honky Rock on this station. An' a one, an' a two... (the disc is out now, have a look - ed.)
9:50 PM -
Just transferred trains at Pacific Street and passed our friendly neighborhood camoflauge-n-M16 subway guard squad. I wonder what horrific situation Homeland Security has envisioned that would require those men to open up the automatic-weapons fire in a crowded station? I know, it's mostly for show, but I'd feel far safer just seeing a small sidearm. Collateral damage is a bitch.
Speaking of, only two chapters to go on my Six Day War book. Since that's the source of our big Real Apartment down payment, I'm spending the next few days knocking it out. Wifely has given it extremely high marks thus far, which is heartening. She reads real good.
10:20 PM -
The stars are out tonight. Weird. It reminds me that this odd little island is actually connected to the rest of the world. Looking straight up, past the low buildings of Brooklyn, I almost expect to look back down and see moonlit plains and rolling grassy hills. Or a pickup truck. There are some Texan assumptive reflexes that'll never go away. And I don't mind keeping 'em, truth be told.
I do like the fact that New York has kept big tracts of its grass intact. Seems to me that starlight needs something unpaved to shine on. Not that you'll catch me in the park at night, mind you. Whack. There's that schoolmarm again.
Getting sleepy. Must write again soon. G'night, moon.