Wednesday, November 26, 2003
I've always been a "people watcher", so my morning train ride is usually interesting (when I'm coherent/awake enough to enjoy it). When I lived in Ithaca, I would spend hours just sitting on a bench in Collegetown, watching the crowds go by. As you can imagine, the crowds here in NYC offer infinitely more variety than those in Upstate New York - and hence infinitely more satisfaction for my purposes. But here, I have to be a bit more sly in my observations; privacy is a rare commodity. Its seems as if most take great pains to act as if there was no one else in that crowded subway car with them. They simply stare off at a spot somewhere near the ceiling or the floor, or perhaps bury their nose in a newspaper. So I carefully try to take in what I can from my periphery, from hasty glances and reflections dulled by dirt and scratchitti. But I find it almost impossible to avoid a full on stare for very long with the unending diversity of humanity on display before me. Every person is a unique expression, and I try to appreciate the beauty in them. Each wrinkle like a line of subtle poetry, each face a verse unspoken. What stories do these eyes tell? Sometimes I find myself smiling in appreciation, but I usually put my Gotham scowl back on quickly lest someone catch me smiling at them. "I hate taking the train", says a coworker - "to many damn people staring at you."