As many of my readers know, every morning I head into NYC to my day job. In order to avoid as much of the commuting hassle as possible, I always try to get a very early start.
That has many advantages, including the fact that I get to bypass the most crowded commuter trains and subways and all of the additional frenetic energy that goes along with them.
One of the other advantages: because of the timing, I more or less get to see the same people in the same subway car every day as I travel from Penn Station to the downtown area. I don’t know where these folks get on, but I do tend to see them every day at 34th Street.
We are all such creatures of habit and necessity.
I realized something today.
It’s what I have dubbed the subway *dance* – a very slow ritual that can turn complete strangers into mutual witnesses of existence.
I’m thinking of a particular guy who wears a “Google Security” jacket, the one who gets off at 14th Street close to where he works.
For months, I had noticed him already seated when I got on. We never acknowledged each others’ presence or even made eye contact.
We were both being so NYC smart, right?
Slowly, over some weeks, very brief eye contact was made as we begin to recognize each other in our daily routines.
But nothing more.
Then one day, a slight nod of the head – who knows why? Weeks of this barely noticeable gesture followed.
Then, ever so faintly, a silent “hello” was mouthed when we first met up.
More weeks followed.
This past week, a smile was added. Then a “good morning.”
Today, we offered to each other “a good day” as we departed company, just one subway stop together.
It’s been a silent dance.
An observable ritual.
A hit and run human connection.
Two weary – and wary – NYC strangers meeting up, however briefly, in their daily routine. We have become mutual witnesses of and to each other in a city full of strangers.
Perhaps never to know more about each other.
Only that we existed here, together, in this place, at this time. But perhaps that’s enough.
And it’s all good.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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