I took the Metrolink to work this morning, partly for old time sake, and partly because I’m trying to decide if it is worth it to take the link to work. My Wash U pass expires at the end of June, and after that I would have to pay $60 a month to ride. I would probably save more than this in gas, but would I save enough in sanity?
The other issue is that it isn’t immediately obvious which Metrolink station to go to from my house. The quickest, in terms of drive time, is actually the Grand station. But I could THEORETICALLY take the bus from my house to the Forest Park station. I say theoretically because I hate the bus, and I’m not sure that I’m ready to make that leap yet.
That’s not really what I wanted to write about, though. What I wanted to write about was how being on the link this morning made me miss the thing that I probably enjoyed the most about New York – the subway. I was, and still am, completely in love with the New York Subway. There are the obvious reasons, sure, but then there are the other, more important reasons. Like the smell. Which is a bad smell, but who cares? When you smell subway you know that you’re in New York. And there are all of the people. I have yet to find a better place to watch people. There are strange people, and beautiful people, and interesting people. At least I think there were. I’d make up stories about all of them, and wonder what they were doing and where they were going.
I also loved the randomness of the subway. You’d end up sitting next to someone for five minutes that you’d never see for the rest of your life. But for that little bit of time you’d have this strange connection with them. Sometimes you’d be so jammed that you’d be touching 4 or 5 different people at the same time. In a really strange way it was intimate, and yet totally detached, because you’d never acknowledge anyone else.
I think that was probably the most frustrating part. The lack of acknowledgment. I’d want to talk to people. I’d want to say hi, and find out what someone was about. But it seemed like even making eye contact on the subway was completely off limits. You can be jammed ass to ass, but god forbid you make eye contact or say something.
I guess what I’m getting at, know that I think about it, was that the subway made you think. It made you process and analyze things. And you certainly don’t get that nearly as much driving your car, and you don’t really even get it on the Metrolink. The Metrolink has 4 across seating, all facing forwards, while most of the subway cars that I rode, at least, had benches facing each other down the sides. It encouraged that non-interaction interaction. And because of all of that, I really miss the New York subway, and riding Metrolink in some ways just makes me feel hollow and empty.