We see you, wrinkle-browed frowny person on the platform. We understand that when these train doors slid open, an event transpired. To you, witnessing our fates from the outside, it must have seemed as if the lid had been removed from a can of coagulated stew made up entirely of book bags and coffee breath.
But we welcome you. You’re right. There’s space. Push in. Join our rotten collective.
There’s nothing more “New York” than riding the subway this way. Not the holiday tree lighting. Not renting tandem bikes and riding them through Central Park. No, not even people walking around Times Square dressed up as creepily disheveled mascots that look like our favorite Disney characters, albeit our favorite Disney characters if they were all products of forced inbreeding and advanced exposure to unsanctioned plutonium.
No, New York is about this beautifully unnecessary violation of personal space. It’s about riding elbow-to-ass-to-face-to-crotch-to-clavicle right up until your destination. Take me for instance. It’s been thirty to forty solid minutes of stuffing and grinding and humping and sliding and it’s made my morning, nay my life, exponentially better. I mean, look here. A three hundred dollar suit pressed against a tye-dye shirt with (what I hope) is a curry stain along the back seam. By God, this is America! I’ve seen more people express bodily fluids on trains than on Pornhub. I’ve been witness to fist fights, seizures, blowjobs, and one guy going into vivid detail about his gynecology experience. And I consider last week a slow one.
Come, ye lost soul. If you keep yelling for us to “Move in,” I’m positive a black hole will spontaneously erupt right above our heads, right next to that ad for breast implants, and therefore free up a few inches of prime real estate for your patronage. You can even rest your weary head against my flattened scapula and take a nap if it pleases you. You’re paying three dollars for this fare, you might as well get the best service. We look out for each other here. Hop aboard this round rusted tapeworm as it ushers us tinier parasites about the bowels of this great city. Join us as we flutter to and from our libraries and falafel stores and mistresses.
Before you enter, I would like to introduce you to my space-mates. Below me, stabbing me in the gut with the spine of her book, is Sharon and the elbow next to my eardrum belongs to Zeke. These aren’t their real names, of course, but it’s just one of those things that when people are draped in and around and through your intimate areas, it makes things semi-tolerable when they aren’t strangers. Zeke and I have been together for only five stops, but he’s very supportive and his armpit gives me warm, fuzzy memories of the chicken coup I used to play in as a kid. Sharon joined us around 42nd street.
I still remember Sharon’s youthful face when she came sliding in around this pole. Oh, the laughs and mind expanding conversations we could of had if we made more than three seconds of non-threatening eye contact.
The best part (if there is even a way to pump more greatness into pure bliss) is that the moment you step in here, you will lose a lot of your worries and stress because eventually every shred of personality and self you hold dear will be stripped away from you as you pass into the sweet embrace of this undulating human tapestry. I mean, look at me. I went from asking myself questions such as “Am I going to be late” to the more crucial and communal conundrums such, “Why are we not moving?” and “God, why have you forsaken us?”
The doors are closing and you’re still not inside which is weird because I was sure the shouting was working. Why not try falling on your haunches and crawling through. Right back here. I would wave to show you where but I’m already a few centimeters from having a warrant out for my arrest. Zeke here surely has space for you. Jehovah blessed him with two armpits. You should really come. This guy—Tommy! I’ve named him Tommy—has a scalp that smells like raspberries and childhood regrets. It’s intoxication.
You’re giving up? You’re through? You’ll have to wait 60, maybe even 120 seconds for the next train to pull slowly into the platform. And you’ll just be able to easily step into that train car and get to your destination without the butts and briefcases.
But then what about us? What about what we could’ve had?