Day 025: Let’s Take The Train Home
Hello, friend. It’s been a long day. You look just about as tired as I am. I’m sure things didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Or maybe it did, but then something else popped up. Don’t you hate that? I bet your team didn’t win. Or they probably didn’t have a chance to play at all. My team is definitely going to lose. It is what it is. It’s been a long week. It’s been a long year. But hey, the day’s over. Let’s just breathe deep, put on some music, close our eyes [actually, no, don’t close your eyes. It would be very difficult to read that way] and let the train do all of the work for us.
Let’s go home.
I can hear it in the distance. I recognize that screech of the R46 every time. And oh look, it’s a Q. Just the one we need. Perfect. Let’s take this seat in the corner. It’s a little less crowded. Not like the train is crowded at all. We’re among only a few other sleepy residents. The conductor warbles some nonsense into the intercom and we creak into the night. The construction lights cause a strobe effect as we lock up speed. You might be mildly disoriented, but it’ll be over soon.
Man, I love this song. It’s one of my go-to’s when I ride the train at night. My one complaint would be that Miles’ trumpet comes in a little too hot. It’s a generally quiet composition and he comes out guns ablazing. He needs to read the room. After all, he built it. I always have to lower the volume. His high notes dig into my cavities like nobodies business. But I love the way it shakes Jimmy Cobb’s snare, just ever so gently. You can barely hear it, but it’s there. Just like the air hissing through Coltrane’s reed. The atmosphere is laid on so thick. You can really feel the room it’s recorded in. You can almost taste the air. Probably cigarettes and musk.
And over the bridge we go.
I only enjoy Chinatown from above. It looks gorgeous from up here. The twinkling neon, the yellow apartment windows, the silent ambulance going by, it’s all so majestic from up above. When you’re down in it, you can’t appreciate it as much. The same goes for all of lower Manhattan. Looking at it from a safe distance, your mind fills with wonder. Closer up, it’s a cage you vie to escape. That’s New York in a nutshell. It’s given us all Stockholm Syndrome. As soon as you reach your wits end, you’ll remember all of the ways in which you love it. And it’ll always be there for us, no matter how much we try to stay away. When the skyline has its makeup on, all of the problems that it caused you melts away, if only for a second.
Back into the void.
A B train shares the track next to us. It dances back and forth, as if conversing with our train. After all, they’re old friends. They came from the same factory and sleep in the same depot every night, but they probably don’t see each other much. I sometimes wonder about the life of the train. It’s been here for so long, it’s seen so many faces. Car 5797 has been in service since 1974. It’s seen a lot of changes. It’s watched people grow up and has probably seen some people die. This car has housed more people than you’ll ever meet in your life. Isn’t that wild?
But enough about the train. How have you been? How’s it going at your job, whatever it is that you do? Aw, that’s great! Or maybe it’s bad. Yeah, I’m doing okay, all things considered. Just trying to get through the year. Rachel? She’s been doing great! Yep, she’s done with all the treatments, back to working full time. She’s back to being the breadwinner. I don’t know how she does it. I never thought I’d meet somebody with the patience she has. She’s been my rock. I don’t know what I’d be doing without her. The three of us should hang out sometime. You know, socially distanced.
It always makes me uncomfortable when the train speeds up after 7th Ave. While I’m so used to the screeching train gently rocking me, suddenly it jolts you left and right, forward and back. It seems unnecessary but it still surprises me every time.
And back above ground, but you can’t tell the difference.
You can check your phone now. If you want to, I mean. There’ll be service for the rest of the ride. I’m tempted to check the score to the game, but I know there isn’t any good news. On an October eve such as this one, I once did 5 cannonballs and lectured a cat about the Dodgers and the essence of disappointment. Years later, not much has changed. But the thing we have to hold onto, the reminder we have to grasp, is that disappointment only occurs because something positive was happening. If we spent more time focusing on what lead us to be disappointed, we’d be better off. Actually, no, that’s terrible advice. Don’t listen to me. It’s been a long day.
Church Ave already?
That was fast. Usually, these rides take forever. I guess time flies when you’re not alone. Well, it was good seeing you. Maybe we’ll catch a train again sometime. Get some rest. Tomorrow will be better. Or at least we can hope. Take care of yourself.
And we spill out into the world.