Friday, May 29, 2009

Ars longa, Vita brevis

On my way home today, coming from a wonderful day after spending time with JoJo, and catching up with Liz and Ibrahim, my Zune was slowly dying. 

So, instead of disappearing into the world of noise canceling head phones, I started to think about my commute. 

I feel that "The Commute" is such an integral part of my life when I'm in New York and rarely do I stop and think about it. By far, New York City has one of the best transportation systems, and I only learned to appreciate this after I left for school, and when I visited California. 

On $4 dollars, I have gotten from Staten Island, to Midtown Manhattan, to Manhattan Beach Brooklyn. I feel that that is a definite accomplishment.

Sure, it takes time, but The Commute does take time. Today it took me 1 1/2 hours to get into Park Slope, but it didn't feel long. In fact, I was so pleased with how fast I got to Brooklyn, I did not even stop to think that it took 3 whole hours out of my day. But that's the just part of life to me, it's part of The Commute. Time seems to meld into a perception. 

So, sitting on my train today, sans Zune, I couldn't help but think about the two most permant memories I have about the train. 

This one time, I was on my way somewhere, probably taking the 1 or the R W trains. The train was half empty, kind of quiet. I noticed one man, furiously sketching. Then after a little while, he gets up and starts putting pieces of paper by some of the passengers in the car. 

He had drawn portraits of some of the people he saw around him. I feel that that was the first time I ever saw real art. Not some stagnant still life hanging at the Met, or a blotch of Black chilling at MoMA. To this day, I wish I caught his eye and had a random stranger draw a portrait of me. 

The second, was one late night coming home on the RW. From my old house the quickest way to get to Park Slope was to go to Manhattan and then take the RW down . The South Ferry Station is the last stop before you go to Brooklyn. And Brooklyn would usually mean, Park Slope and seeing Joey. One night, coming home I just had the saddest, most intense urge just to stay on that train, forget all of my responsibilities, forget that my parents would kill me, and just go. I guess my Id was winning the fight against my Superego that night. 
And the thing is, there is nothing special about the South Ferry stop, even though it is the last one in Manhattan, because for me it is special, but not for everyone riding the train. I think that's also beautiful about The Commute. Everyone is on their way somewhere and everyone has a story to tell. 

I'm interested in ways that people are connected to one another. I'm interested in how they relate and interact. Only today, I concsiously realized that The Commute is really one of the best examples of people connecting. 

So, I truly believe that The Commute is ordinarily extraordinary. 

(And as a side note, in reality Staten Island is bigger than Manhattan. The maps just squish it tiny small because we only have one train, one one side of the island)


The Titan of Myth said...

One time on the train coming to Harlem ... or coming from, I forget it was on my commute ... any who I noticed the guy in front of me was drawing and I looked up and it was a picture of me reading my comic. when I finished my comic I felt bad so I took out another so his picture wouldn't be interrupted, he didn't give it to me or even show me when his stop came he just got up and left. Quite a bummer.

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