For a person with claustrophobia, I really love the subway.
I learned public transit on the subway here. First the green 6 up to the Met. I was pretty excited about that.
Then the shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square, and the N up to my friend’s place by Columbus Circle.
The subway always goes exactly where it says it’s going to go. That makes it all worth it.
During the years I would stay on the upper west side, I got to know the red trains to the Natural History Museum, and the animal murals there.
I like that it is dirty. I wish there were more places to sit. Almost all the places to sit are squarish benches with dividers along them to keep people from sleeping there.
You can be anywhere, too, and that inspires me. Anywhere once you’ve paid your pittance. Anywhere.
Like everyone, I guess, I hate people making their announcements about how they’re hungry or poor and their requests about “even change is great.” I will sit there and think about how my ideas about sharing and Jesus and all are so out of line with my idea of giving money to people in that situation, and reasons why this is perfectly okay.
This morning at the Port Authority I was buying a bottle of my super expensive juice. The two ladies who worked there were from southeast Asia. The sign above them was yellowed and handmade-looking, and the muffins in the counter were suspicious. A guy standing next to me, who was somewhat unwashed, said, “You have 75 cents so I can get a cup of coffee?”
I never, never give money to people on the street except like once a year when I do.
One other time this year, I gave a dollar to a musician. I don’t know what got into me.
Going without coffee sounded so pathetic to me. If he had said he needed cigarettes, I would have felt pretty bad, too, I mean– I have sympathy for addiction, and I don’t feel it’s a moral issue. I’m not presently physically addicted to coffee, but I would say I am emotionally addicted, thinking back on my reaction to the doctor who once told me I would have to give up coffee and red wine to stop having migraines.
I also was feeling poor, and giving away money, even in small amounts, is a good way to feel not poor.
Or maybe I was thinking like a Republican and liked the idea of matching funds. Sometimes I do think like a Republican, to be honest.
So I gave him a dollar and he got a cup of coffee, and I got a $4.50 bottle of juice. My next stop was a visit the most expensive grocery store in the continental United States. My regular everyday shredded mozzarella was $5. It was on the way home.
I learned about trains to Brooklyn when a friend moved out here. His trains go over the Manhattan Bridge, which means every ride in there’s the skyline.
My train is the 3, a red train. Word is that she is not too fast, but reliable. The saddest thing is that I go under the East River every time. No skyline.
When I said the subway always goes, it does, except when it doesn’t, like this morning, when I had to take a C instead of an A to get to my 3. That made the most expensive grocery store on the way home. Nobody’s perfect.