Crowded subway. It’s rush hour. I’m still groggy from the nap I woke up from. I think I dragged my butt in to work in just about the slowest “get-ready-and-go” I have ever done in 15 minutes. At least, I felt slow when I reached for the conditioner for a second time in the shower and only after lathering it in realized I had already done that step. D’oh!
So, anyway, crowded subway… I’m too “stoopy” [Stoopy: (Stoo-py) A word used to describe the groggy or, in cases of Natalie’s family, utter lack of brain function when awaking from a long nap.] to take out my book or put on my head phones and listen to Maroon 5 again, so I let my eyes wander.
Oh, the crotches one sees on the subway. Have we all noticed this and not said anything? Am I coming into an awakening I’ve never had before? Sitting on a train in New York directly positions the person sitting to have their face almost exactly at the same height as the crotch of the person standing. I suddenly felt incredibly embarrassed. I tried to dart my eyes down and instead found them resting on the package on an enormous Pakistani man sitting across from me wearing jeans that were far too small for him, so his incredible girth was spilling out and over the confines of the denim, revealing a very dark and hairy under belly that I cringed to look at. I glanced up and noticed he had noticed I was staring. I quickly feigned boredom and picked at my nails.
Cut to: crowded passageway on my walk from the 7 to the BDFM trains that span the length of an avenue block in New York. It’s a nice tunnel, well lit, there are murals on the walls, and every now and then there are weird quotes that don’t seem to really make a whole lot of sense to me. Every time I walk past “Gutta Cavat Lapidem” I repeat the mantra to myself like it’s a secret code only I know. So, I’m walking down the passageway and again, my eyes begin to wander. There are so many people in that passage! Everyone is tall and short and fat and thin and male and female all at once! Sometimes, I need to look at my hands to remind myself that I am indeed a human and not a sheep, because falling in line with the throng makes me lose all sense of individuality (I guess this is why I am always listening to music when going to work). I start to analyze what everyone is wearing: “Nice boots, I’d wear those!” and “Terrible shirt” and “Is that a man? or a woman?” Yet, as each person passes me and goes on their way, there is a short moment of eye contact, and then we both look away.
Ahhh… There is it: Eye contact! The only way to not have that walk become a triviality and mind-numbing parade of faceless humans. But, watching all these people watch me made me feel like I was suddenly held together by a bunch of blocks of wood. What am I wearing? I feel so stupid in these pants, I feel like everyone behind me is getting a good look at my butt and everyone passing me can see the shape of my boobs and I feel like I could scream! I took deep calming breathes. I even made up a poem in my head.
It’s times like these when I really need to stand in a field of wide openness and just let the wind pull back my hair and the sun burn my arms and the grass tickle my feet.
“Gutta Cavat Lapidem:” A water drop hollows a stone.
Who is getting hollowed? Me? Or the City?
I need another nap.
September 29, 2012 at 5:51 am by Natalie Allen