24 4 / 2014
On the way home from work today, I literally fell on top of someone in the subway. It was dreadfully embarrassing. I had actually been attempting to be subway-courteous, by moving further in than where I was standing, toward that spot where two seats are back to back with two other seats and you can hold on to the pole in the middle—the spot I actually prefer to the “gen pop” standup area closer to the door because it’s less claustrophobic … anyway, as I’m stepping over in that direction, the train starts, and with quite a lurch, and I find myself at a 90 degree angle on top of another girl—and also somehow managed to step on a second girl’s foot. Their “ow”s ring in my ears!
20 4 / 2014
Yes, this week I celebrate all three, in my own way.
In memory of my religious upbringing and so forth, I pulled out my old Bible (which is filled with various notes and other memorabilia—photos, bookmarks, etc., from my teen years), and read both the story of Passover (Exodus chapters 1-14) and the story of Easter (less linear—requires reading the last few chapters of the four gospels).
There are a lot of sad, and strange, things in both of those stories, and in both faiths for that matter … nevertheless, maybe because these occur at springtime, which I love, what I feel most during these holidays is the hope that shines through in these stories. They are stories of freedom, examples of people enduring and then overcoming terrible and tragic situations. Of humanity rising above and beyond the hard and dark things that come into every life. They are about starting over afresh—a privilege that I am grateful to have.
02 2 / 2014
I am now a resident of Park Slope.
I’ve gotten a great spot—big thanks to a good friend who moved out to move in with her S-O, thus making it available. It’s shared with two very nice ladies, and, I have my own bathroom. There’s also laundry in the house!—and yes, it’s a house, as in with a back yard. (The lower two floors are one unit, and the third floor another.) All in all, it’s a real catch for this area, and I am happy and grateful.
31 12 / 2013
I thought it was Charles Dickens who said “Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” I think it was actually someone else. Anyway … I don’t get particularly sentimental about holidays, but I did find my heart warmed by seeing an increase in affectionate interaction among traveling partners on the subways during the holiday season.
I saw a lot of families of all shapes and sizes traveling someplace together—including one, a mother and several grown children and their SOs, stuck waiting for awhile along with me, who asked me to take a picture of them all together on the subway bench since “we haven’t taken a holiday picture all together yet” :-). I saw many couples of all ages, all gender combinations, and speaking a variety of languages. I saw a lot of people carrying bags and packages—sometimes multiple bags and exhausted expressions as if they were happy to have it over with; sometimes holding just one small package tenderly, as if it represented the person they were about to give it to.
08 12 / 2013
So either I haven’t been paying that much attention because my books and podcasts have been absorbing (yes they have), or, there have just been fewer interesting things to look at or hear than usual. In either case, it took me a few weeks to collect this much:
*I’m not sure if it’s that usually there are too many people to see it, or because I’m reading or looking at people and not at the floor, but today it stood out terribly that the subway car floors were SO full of trash. There was also a bottle of Arizona iced tea rolling all around (closed, thankfully) that a few of us shared some laughs watching as it made its way around.
*On Thanksgiving Day, also the first day of Chanukah this year, the Subway was almost eerily empty. I never had to wait for the people to pile/file out before getting in, and got a seat on every ride.
30 11 / 2013
Yesterday was “Thanksgivvukah,” as it has been called—a rare convergence of Thanksgiving Day with the first day of Chanukah. There’s been a fair bit of talk in the media and at my workplace about the special-ness of it. I’ve also heard of a number of ways it speedily became commercialized—going the way of almost all holidays, I’m afraid … but won’t go off on that tangent now.
From a very personal place, besides it being a once-in-a-lifetime event as it is for everyone, I think it will long be a memory milestone. I am American by nationality, and Jewish (well, half) by ancestry. However, I was born and raised and have spent most of my life overseas, and my parents did not follow the Jewish traditions. While I always knew I was American and that I was Jewish (and was proud of the latter in particular), I never entirely knew what it was to be either, because neither were a part of my everyday life.
17 11 / 2013
*The man beside me on the F train pulled out a large sketchbook and sketched the girl sitting directly across from us—who was immersed in her book and was picture perfect with her short hair and glasses suiting her pose. He did good (and fast) work.
*The woman beside me on the A train was writing, writing, writing, for about 15 minutes straight. It looked like a letter. I was curious, but tried not to be rude and read it over her shoulder. I can’t remember when was the last time I saw somebody write a letter, or received a handwritten letter.
10 11 / 2013
So it’s been two weeks since I did my first “on the subway” post … here are a few random subway observations and thoughts from this week and the one before.
*That weird shoe season, the one where you see riding boots on one girl, flip flops on the next, and everything else in between (which was the case for most of September and October), is pretty much over now. That was a visually confusing season :-). One day on the subway, I saw a woman in a long trenchcoat, with a scarf, and hat, looking all autumn-like fashionable at the top, and when I went to check out what I presumed would be the boots, they were (gasp) flip-flops! Now it’s almost all boots, and the furthest it stretches is pumps and flats. As of last week, a lot of people were wearing gloves (I don’t think it’s nearly cold enough for that). And, somewhat oddly, some of those people in full winter getups are drinking ice coffee … this makes no sense to me.
27 10 / 2013
Earlier this month my blog had its first birthday—on my birthday. Happy birthday to us.
I haven’t posted for months now. I’ve been busy—with work, as well as starting on a longer-term writing project aka a book, that is just taking form and will be a while in the making. Meanwhile, I want to keep this blog alive.
For the time being, I’m going to go the very literal route insofar as writing about journeys. I have a long commute these days. I spend nearly two hours daily on the subway going to work and back, and then often ride it on weekends too. I see a lot of people. I see a lot of shoes and boots :-). I hear a lot of conversation snippets. I greatly enjoy all the above.
05 5 / 2013
So this post isn’t going to be all about work … but, it has now been a month since I started working at the JCC in Manhattan. So far so good. I like the work, I’m getting things “in hand,” I like the team I’m working with, and I think they like me too.
I must tell the story of “saved by the espresso window” or “what could have been a 100-dollar espresso” depending on how you look at it. I guess it’s more the latter. So, I go to this little coffee place—well it’s a restaurant, and quite a lovely one, and it has a take-out window for coffee—almost every day at some point in the afternoon, and I get an espresso at the window. It’s good, and it’s well-priced (not Starbucks style), and it’s close enough to work that it just takes a couple of minutes, yet far enough (eg not in the building) that I get outside for a few minutes of fresh air.
For the information of non-New Yorkers, we have a monthly metro card here that costs $112 for unlimited subways for 30 days, which works for me since I take the subway for at least two and often three rides in a day. (Each ride is 2.50, no matter if you go one stop or switch lines three times.) For the first few months I was here, I had just been putting money on the pass as I needed it, since my subway use was random. On the way to my first day at work I got the monthly. Just three days later, I realize when I’m about to head home that my metro card is gone. First I consider panicking. Then I try to retrace my steps. I realize it probably fell out of my coat pocket when I went to get coffee, since I happened to have cash and subway card in the same pocket. Right. “Well it probably won’t be there, but I’m going to go by and look.” I get to the coffee window, see that there’s a large trash can just to the right of it, bend down to look behind it … and yes, my subway card is there! I felt like one lucky New Yorker! (I also now have a safer dedicated place for my subway card. And my Long Island Rail Road pass … back to that in a minute.)