Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Subway

This evening I was sitting on the E train heading for a meeting in an office downtown.  I was properly bundled and I was reading a torn and crinkled issue of The New Yorker saved from the crowded mess of my book bag.   I am a New Yorker and I know it. After three years here I know the subway lines, I don't get offered double-decker bus tours anymore and I give directions to strangers and hail cabs.  I am comfortable in my skin. As long as it is properly attired for the weather.

A woman sat next to me. She was carrying a step ladder. Folded.  It didn't look like she just bought it from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It didn't have a security sticker; it looked like she just took it to use places.  I could feel my body wanting to lean over and say something like "Do you need that to read the adverts on the subway?"  But I just could not think of anything that was either 1. funny or 2. not too obvious.  Unlike a REAL New Yorker, I felt compelled to engage with her.  Just to engage? Well, I think I want to know someone who carries a step ladder with her.

She would always have a seat places.  She could reach things at the grocery.  Or a library.  A liability at the airport surely.

I then thought about how great it would be to carry a seat with you wherever you went because you would always have one!  I used to think it would be great to carry a parking space.  And I also used to think of how great it would be to be able to shrink so tiny that you could carry your house with you and live anywhere!  But the fear of cats would multiply.  And unwanted grasshoppers knocking on your door with a loud bang.   Don't think I would like that. I almost figured I didn't carry my house out of fear of getting eaten.  I never even regarded that it was a real non-issue since I couldn't shrink.

My stop. I got off the train. The woman with the step ladder had farther to go.  I mentally thanked her for getting my thoughts to go places.  But I will never know where she is from and why she carries that step ladder. And I guess that will just have to be okay.

No comments: