I love the smell of the subway.
The way it makes me feel disgusting and itchy at the measly hour of 9 am after my loyal alarm clock has woken me up for some quality time with my loofah. How it brings those dolled up, high-heelers, who are painted with pounds of colorful over-the-counter cosmetics, back down to reality. Down here, even the most expensive bottle of toilet water, Chanel # 5, can’t make you any cleaner, any more well off than the rest of us. Because come 9:15 am, you will exit this rat infested, urine stained, trash collecting hole smelling like it, but at least that’s what all of us morning-miserable straphangers have in common. We all smell.
I’m fascinated by tourists.
A walk home from work is a walk through the parade of Nations during the Olympics. The baby steps they take forward and back, trying to figure out where the Empire State Building is, Times Square, Central Park. To them, a crack in the sidewalk warrants a photo and a few spare coins is enough to make a difference in some persuasive beggar’s life. The ones who travel here are the ones who see the things we see daily, differently simply because they look up, anxious for the history, the stories, the textures, and the nonsensical structure that holds this city together. While we who live here constantly look down.
I appreciate overpriced things.
Because they finally blister into our head that they are just that, things. Nothing here goes on the clearance rank. As if one day my landlord will call and say, “Hey Jen, rent this month if 50% off!” You become picky, as you should be, and what you want is only determined after you can afford what you need. A roof over my head costs me 3/4 of my monthly paycheck, therefore what I am allowed to want the rest of the month will be worthwhile as much as it will be appreciated. The way saving up enough money for a glow in the dark yo-yo was in the 3rd grade.
It’s nice to not always say sorry.
For your fast paced, always in a rush mistakes. Bumping into strangers, grinding your size 10 sneakers on top of their bony feet, knocking over their warm vanilla late with your elbows. When you become part of the lint that clings on to this city, you no longer have the time, the energy, the focus to say “sorry”. Instead, you learn to walk a little faster and hold on tighter to the things that really matter to you, letting the disposable go at the sudden push of another.
The feeling of getting lost in a crowd.
The oddity of how synchronized the masses of people are here. Most of us spend too much time standing out. At work, in our group of friends. Here, you can finally be yourself. Recite Shakespeare on the top of your lungs on a packed F train, walk around in a bedazzled leotard and neon tutu, dance the running man in the middle of Washington Square Park and all you’ll earn is less than .0001 seconds of attention, the honking of a needy cab driver.
When you start to see the flaws, the deep-rooted pores as merely just that, dents of the past in the halves of the whole. It’s then that you can be certain, you are in love—really in love—with that person, with that place, with that thing.
image – Shutterstock