Subway Anxiety

Sometimes when I’m almost home, like a couple of stops on the train away, I get anxious.

I get anxious and think: “I hope my cat is okay.” (There’s no reason she should not be.) “I hope the train doesn’t break down. What if it does?” (If it does, I could walk I’m so close.) “It’s so hot out. I really hope I don’t have to walk home if the train breaks down.” (Shut up.)

And on, and on, and on. 

I’ve never gotten anxious when I’m far away from home. Maybe that’s because I’m nowhere near it and so worrying is futile. Or I know someone is with Playbill, so no need to worry. I don’t know. I don’t know why I get so anxious when I’m so close to home I could (if I really wanted to) walk rest of the and it would take 20 minutes, max.

But yesterday, around 79th Street, I noticed it and instead of stewing in the anxiety and feeding it, I began to breathe into it and ask why I was feeling this way. I felt it and let it go. I told myself I’d be home soon. 

And it worked. It was nice. I got home and Playbill was fine. I was fine. My night was relaxed because I didn’t let the anxiety of my subway ride take over. 

Small City

There are 10 million people (give or take) in New York City. That’s a huge number of people, you say. Yeah, that’s a lot of people, totally. Except for when you’re all living within 10 miles of each other. Then not so much. That person who you thought you’d never see again? Oh hey, sitting next to me on the subway!

Anyways, it’s not always bad. Usually it’s comical, or even good! Lots of relationships start because people live near each other (though they oftentimes end and I’m not sure if that’s because of the proximity or just because lots of relationships end, but I digress). We live in this city for ease of access to everything, so we take the good with the not-ideal. 

Anyways, on my floor in my apartment building, there’s a family at the other end of the hall that’s a mother, father, and son. The son is probably in his mid-20′s and he’s a ghostwriter for CEOs and smokes a lot of pot (I can smell it). He’s a super nice guy though, stoner tendencies aside.  

Well, I was waiting for the elevator and my office building this morning and who walks into the lobby? That guy. I looked at him like, “I recognize that dude, but wait, I don’t work with him…” and then it clicked. I think the same thing went through his head, too. He told me his office just moved into the building. 

I couldn’t believe it. How random. It’s a small town that I live in. 

PS: Also small world-esque: A coworker of J’s lives in my apartment building. We run into him all the time now in the elevator!

New York Kinda Morning

The universe apparently thought 30 minutes on the elliptical on Tuesday morning wasn’t enough exercise. When I made my way to the train around 8:30, commuters were exiting in a huff and I knew there was an issue with the train. I asked the MTA attendant if a train was going to arrive and she said something like “yes, but I don’t know when and there hasn’t been a train for a while.”

So helpful.

Instead of trying to figure out what was going on, I walked back up and attempted futilely to get on the downtown bus to catch the express a dozen or so blocks away. Everyone else on my line had the same idea so the bus was asked and I just decided to walk it.

Inhaling the morning air, getting my heart rate going (yet again), and stopping for a coffee at Plowshares was a way more ideal situation than waiting to get on a packed train.

But my journey wasn’t over yet. Plain impatience lead to my walking another 8 blocks once the express train arrived at Penn Station. More chilled air and finishing my coffee led me finally to my office. Only about 20 minutes later than usual (not late though, as I’m an early bird).

I could lament about how much the MTA blows (sometimes it does) but mostly I’m just grateful that I had the opportunity for the morning walk. I’m always thankful that my commute is on a train (where I can read), or at the very least, via walking. Because despite all the ways the MTA annoys me (and my fellow denizens of New York, I presume), it’s still the best damn transit system in the best damn city in the entire world.

And I get to live here.

A Valentine’s Day Miracle

I’m pretty much a fatalist. If there’s something that could go wrong, I usually imagine it happening (though now I have the mental power to also tell myself to stop being an asshole, so there’s that). I often take my rings off and put them in my wallet at yoga and then forget to take them out until the next morning when I’m getting ready or I’m already out the door and head towards the subway. 

I’ve always known that putting rings on while waiting for the train is probably a bad idea. One could totally fall into the tracks.

And yesterday, one did. I looked around for it for a bit after but didn’t see it on the platform and didn’t see it on the tracks (I didn’t go down into them, I’m not a total asshole).

I was super bummed because I’d bought the ring in an antique shop in Stockholm in September so it was totally irreplaceable. As the day wore on, I focused on other things but then immediately found myself bummed again as I was heading home after yoga and decided to give my hunt for it one more go.

I asked the MTA agent if anyone had found a ring and given it in, he said no, and I went back to the place that I dropped it, checked that no trains were coming, and got down on my hands and knees on the edge of the platform with my iPhone flashlight to look for it. 

Shockingly, I found it. I asked the MTA employee if there was anyone they could call and there was another employee with tools to pick up stuff that New Yorkers such as myself drop into the tracks. It was really hard to find again, but we did, and we had to wait for a few trains to pass, but eventually we got it back. I gave the guy some cash as a thank you and went home to wash it because: subway grime.

I’m still in shock that I actually found it and was able to get it back. 

So, lesson learned: Don’t put jewelry on while waiting for the train. 

New York City > Your City

I recognize most of the morning 1 train conductors after riding it
regularly for over a year. This morning, although it was the regular
conductor, he was trying to making his job extra fun and trying (and succeeding)
to put a smile on our somewhat weary faces.

As he pulled the train into the station he already had his window down and was wishing everyone a good morning. How nice!

As we stalled in the next station, he told the passengers running
to catch the train to not run and be careful, because we were holding and
there was no rush.

On our way into the next station he came over the speakers to, as
always, make sure we’d take all of our personal belongings when we exited
the train, but also to “let’s make this a great Thursday!” So nice.

Even though the 1 trains are old and gross, it’s nice to have an actual
person talking to you instead of a prerecorded track. Because let’s
face it, a prerecorded track will never go off script and encourage you
to “make it a great Thursday.”

This:

I’ve heard the quote, “A friendship that can end never really began.” And I think it’s pretty much bullshit. New York City is a helluva town, but it also has a helluva lot of people. I’ve run into people who I’ve been friends with and dated who I thought I’d never run into them again after we severed ties. Nope, not the case. You will definitely (probably) run into them.

On the train down to the Heart Like a Hand Grenade screening, I got on the train and looked down the car for a seat and saw a former good friend’s ladyfriend who I’d met all of twice. Astonished (because as far as I knew, they don’t leave Brooklyn), I opened my book and just began to read for the three stops that I was on the train.

I’d met my friend on OkCupid, went out on dates with for a month, and then eventually over the next couple of months we transitioned into being friends. For me, he just drank too much. We didn’t do anything that wasn’t at a bar. But he was kind of fun to hang out with when I wouldn’t be required to kiss him. We spent a lot of time together as friends over the next couple of years and I even became close with his family (I still think his mother is so cool). He’d confided in me a couple of times that yes, he might have a drinking problem and he knew that I had a friend in AA so he wanted to know more information. He never went through with it. Then he started manically dating and after he unofficially had the aforementioned ladyfriend move in after (max) 4 weeks, I severed this relationship. I didn’t agree with his choices and since you can’t change people, I thought it was best not to have this person in my life. Maybe I was wrong to do this. Maybe I wrong in my opinion. Our friendship wasn’t fun anymore though, so it was time to let it go.

Not all friendships are meant to last forever. This was something that took me a while to fully grasp. The memories are still there and they’re still good. Seeing her on the train was a reason to remember the good times that I’d had with him. Without that unexpected reminder though, I was forgetting. But maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t need to remember anymore. 

Maybe it’s time to remember to learn to forget. 

I got back to the office on Thursday after a 6-hour HR conference and our literary editor had left this on my desk. I was SO excited. After reading all the press about it, I started it that night and I’m more than halfway through it. It’s incredible. Martin is SO smart, yet somehow gets lot in this shit. 

I sat down on the train tonight on my way home from the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria and I accidentally kicked the man sitting next to me when I crossed my legs. I immediately apologized and he said, “No need to apologize. You only have to apologize if you want to be one of those women. Absolutely disgusting.” I laughed and agreed with him, telling him that I aspired to be like them 0%. But then I wasn’t sure if he was being anti-feminist or pro-feminist. 

I’m going to assume that he supports powerful women, not just those who live off their “wife bonuses.”

Damnit.

I was on the C train uptown tonight headed home after dinner with my best friend. A guy gets on at 72nd street and sits next to me with a huge stack of fashion magazines. He quickly looks at me and says, “These aren’t for me. My sisters cuts up magazines and when I saw these, I called her and she told me to take a few.” I responded accordingly (“ahhh.”) and then he looked at my jacket and pants, both of which were pink, and said, “You’re very pink today…. my favorite color is usually purple.” I told him that was my next favorite and he said, “What, after green?” With a huge I’m-Such-A-Witty-Nerd grin on his face.

I laughed and he asked if I lived in Harlem too, I said no and he said he lived by Columbia. I of course asked if he’d been to JOE on 120th and he said, “Nope, I’ve never been. Do you want to take me there? I’d like that.” He was totally not-creepy but still, I just smiled and thirty seconds later the train stopped at my stop.

I’ve never had an actual normal, sort-of-cute-in-that-nerdy-kind-of-way strike up a conversation with me on the train and it was kind of nice. I feel bad that I didn’t at least give him some kind of clue of how to find me, you know, Serendipity style.

Nice to know that nice (and seemingly normal) guys are still out there.