Coming in to Sound

I took the E train into Manhattan this morning. I usually have to take this train as an alternative to the more convenient 7 that is useless on the weekends in the winter (ya’ know, construction and stuff). I was really sleepy from the night before which consisted of a lot of restlessness. The train was usually quiet. Like, a storm was coming and everyone was waiting for it to hit with bated breath. Small children  who would normally squeal and wriggle around were patient, calmly staring out of the windows or up at the ads that ring the subway cars. Teenagers were quiet, talking in muted voices and whispers. No one else seemed capable of making noise. It was so quiet I could hear the subway cars closing on the other half of the train after my subway car doors had closed. I felt like even the squeak of the wheels of the train were lesser.

I didn’t feel uneasy about it, just more curious at how muffled all of these actions were. Was I muffled? I didn’t even put on my head phones or pull out my book to read. I just sat in quiet awe at the silence. I felt like even breathing was too loud.

When the train pulled into my stop I got off and the subway doors swooshed close behind me and rolled off into the tunnel, neatly leaving a quieter and quieter station behind. Even the emergency exit door I pushed open to get out of 23rd St. station didn’t fire up an alarm.

My mind wasn’t buzzing either. A girl in front of me glanced back in surprise when I walked through the emergency exit, as if, she too was expecting a loud clanging alarm. I followed her up and out of the station depths to the street where New York was being covered by wet, fat drops of melting snow. I knew, without thinking too hard, that this pretty girl who was in the station with me was going to the improv summit I was walking toward. So, without thought, I let her lead me to where I needed to be.

When I walked into the theatre I thought: I’m going brain dead, my boots thumping down the carpeted steps to the basement. And as soon as my pretty guide opened the doors, I was greeted by the loud, boisterous, joyful crowd of young improvisers squirming in their seats, biting their nails, laughing loudly, gossiping, and clanging their soda cans. The lights on the stage flickered on, brighter, as I felt my own mind do the same when I took my squeaky seat next to two old classmates of mine and opened my mouth to let the quiet, “stupid” of March melt off my tongue in the hot vitality of the room I was in. I sighed, breathing loudly, and raised my voice so as to be heard over the din.

March 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm by Natalie Allen