It may be too soon to tell.
This morning as I obliviously watched my train pull out of the station, waiting in anticipation for the wrong train on the wrong side of the platform, I thought two things: 1. I wonder what TC’s (Teachers College- you know- a branch of Columbia University, where I attend) policy is for tardiness? and 2. Will I ever figure this out?
And then I brought the train home, and in my travels I thought to myself, am I already THAT person?
The first time I visited NYC I was not even 20 and my trip was about 72 hours long. But I did ride the train then (even at 2 in the morning, but that’s a different story) and I saw those people rushing to their train. I saw those people talking to their friends. I saw them ignore musicians and artists alike in their frenzy. I thought these people were 1. possibly rude 2. possibly so accustomed to their surroundings they no longer felt the need to appreciate them 3. poor planners- if they don’t want to run to the train they should start out earlier- clearly. But regardless, I wondered what it would be like to be one of those people, for all these sights and sounds to be normal.
Fast forward to today. Today I frenzied for a train. Not because I was late, but because I didn’t want to wait another 10 minutes for the next one. Timing is everything. I’m even learning which car to sit in to expedite my commuting process. (You can’t blame me. At best it’s an hour.)
Today I also sat smirking at my text of the Scarlet Pimpernel, avoiding the eye contact of aspiring musicians on my train. Despite their beautiful rendition of “Grenade” I decided to keep my change- least I be forced to their equal lot of street performances to pay for school. Unlike them, I have not the skill, nor the courage, to make any sustainable amount of money. But looking up I saw others, also smiling at their various forms of text and finally understood the rudeness. It’s not that it’s not appreciated. It’s that we are selective in who we express that appreciation to.
Today I also boarded and rode and exited the train with college friends. (new ones)
And my favorite story of all:
a frenzied young adult leaned in the door of our train car at one stop and said in desperation, “What train is this?!?”
We all blinked at her, wondering what exactly she was asking.
“Is this the ‘J’?” she said, a bit more frantically as the platform was clearing behind her.
A chorus of “NO, it’s the ‘A’!” came from our mouths as the door dinged shut.
We all looked at each other and smiled knowingly. Then one person said with a chuckle, “There are signs.”
And another, “But their are soo many letters, it’s confusing! There are 26 you know!” and we all laughed again.
And I thought to myself. I’ve been commuting for 2 days now. Am I already one of ‘these’ people?