Friday, March 03, 2006

Subway Seduction

I’m one stop in, engrossed in the free copy of SPIN Magazine I got on Monday at the screening of an Indie short film, before I finally look up and take note of the occupants of the packed subway car.

Getting onto the 7 train from Flushing in the morning is probably one of the most unpleasant experiences in existence. Worse even, than being in Flushing at all. Korean women throw elbows, they slide into nonexistent seats, give you the “I’m older than you and you’re Korean, so you should respect me and get up for me” stare. Hispanic men, stained polo shirts stretched taut over round pregnant bellies, squish into the seat next to you, pull their Mets cap down low and fall asleep on your shoulder.

I’ve perfected the art of the guaranteed end seat. I’ve memorized the stains on the subway platform so I know exactly where the doors will open, the best route from the door to the seat, the exact moment when “let ‘em off” ceases to apply and “get outta my way you slow fucker!” becomes the new law. In three weeks, I have only had to stand once and that was only because I got onto a train that had been waiting on the platform already when I got there.

By the time the train groans, sighs, and lurches into motion, I’m already engrossed in my free paper or latest issue of TIME Magazine, comfortably mashed between a North Face bubble jacket and the end rail, The Vines blasting through my earphones (or if I’m in a mellow mood, Poe).

Today, I’m one stop in, reading SPIN (not my music magazine of choice, but it was free so who gives a fork?) when the pungent odor of garlic* wafts into my nostrils. Not the breath kind, but the “I’ve been chopping garlic all day and its juices are all in my hand pores” kind. I twitch, wrinkle my nose, and look around in an attempt to locate the source when my eyes fall on the very attractive man standing directly in front of me, practically leaning over my lap (for the first time, I’m grateful for how crowded the train is).

We lock eyes for a moment, blink, quickly, look away. Classic New York City subway speak for “hello” (except I’m saying “HEH-lo!”), and spend the next 26 minutes repeating this in intervals of five minutes.

He is well-dressed, pinstripes and shined shoes complete with leather messenger/laptop bag. Obviously corporate. As a recent addition to the corporate ranks, I sympathize, although it being Friday, I am dressed like a fifteen year-old child (not used to this whole dress-code nonsense, I’ve turned “Casual Friday” into “Homeless with a Job Day”). He must feel naughty making eyes at a girl who is clearly no more than sixteen and obviously headed to school.

I shift in my seat, sit up straight, fiddle with my hair (why did I put it in pigtails today?), look up, half-smile, look down, contemplate calling someone and telling them that I’m on my way to work, you know, my new job, it’s going well but it’s really busy, they’ve got me working on this project by myself, but I found out I’m going to Vegas for business in May and that should be interesting. But who? I take out my cell, check the time, too early. B isn’t at work yet, he’d be in the subway, no reception. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I tuck my SPIN Mag back into my bag, replace it with this weeks issue of TIME and immediately flip to the article on the implications of Bush’s decision to open American ports to the UAE in an attempt to show him I’m hip to the Indie music scene and politically conscious, when the doors slide open at Grand Central Station and with one last shared longing gaze, he steps off. I continue on to my Fifth Avenue stop with that final image of his grey eyes frozen in my thoughts and know that I will never see him ever again.

Such is the nature of Subway Seduction.

And New York City life.


*He wasn’t the one who smelled of garlic. It was the Chinese woman next to me talking very loudly on her cell phone. God, I hope he didn’t think I was the one who smelled like garlic…


Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you for the link.

Very kind.



5:33 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I find some irony in this post after reading the previous about your dislike of the James Blunt song. I am smiling, thanks. I love your blog, it has occupied my entire day. Wonder when someone will realize that I have been moving the same two pieces of paper back and forth across my keyboard in an attempt to look the slightest bit productive. Hopefully never as I am only to March in the back issues of your life

6:37 PM  

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