Private Public Transit

It’s been three stops and, as Simon and Garfunkel might say, I feel like the only living girl in New York. Has anyone else been watching Garden State on an HBO loop lately?

A sliver of silence before the city–and the M15 Select–rouse from their sleep.

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Bye-Bye Bussie

As the M15 Select Bus Service sat with doors closed as I stood outside using my breath into my scarf to warm me; and as I knocked half-heartedly on the thick door window; and as the driver looked head on as if he could not see me, or hear me, or sense me, I locked eyes with a middle-aged woman sealed cozily within. I shook my head, and she smiled sympathetically. And even as the bus pulled away and left me behind on the sidewalk waiting for a second shot, I felt a little better. I’m not invisible here: confirmed.

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A-Typical Tuesday

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There are certain sounds to which one becomes accustomed after several years of living on the first floor of a lobbied apartment building. Late night revelers, disoriented deliverymen, elderly women schmoozing the young doorman, Jonathan. These things to do not phase us. But seldom does one hear the rough walkie-talkie airwaves and heavy step of equipment-wearing men without raising a brow.

On Tuesday, there was a crew of firefighters that called in a SWAT team to the sixth floor of our apartment building on account of gas (the flammable kind). And while the older woman who was hording the cans of gasoline was taken away in handcuffs—after her door was knocked down and the offending substances removed, much to the shocked chatter of the building’s other tenants, ourselves notwithstanding—I was left thinking again about the strange tension between public and private here. Anywhere else and she might have been left to her own devices; would she have been better off in a house where nobody could smell the threatening odor? Probably, it is for the best that her neighbors smelled something, said something, not only for the well-being of all of us living here, but also, ultimately for her own. But which is less sad, which less lonely?

And though her parting words—“I hope you’re happy, Jonathan”—echoed confusingly as she was escorted out, the whole megillah did carry the hushed reverence of a family secret best kept under wraps. Somehow it would seem that we are all in this together.

Dark Night, Dark Day in the City

Sandy. Haunting self-portrait reflecting off black windows. A ghost image of myself and the city staring back at me as Bus Doors Closing. Crossing the threshold Between 39th street and The Rest Of The World as everything turns off and everyone’s senses kick into overdrive. Flashlighting my way down the avenue, everything feels sinister, every move a creep, everyone a potential threat. A city turned alley. Only the buses snaking downtown illuminate the path. But even they won’t go south of 23rd.

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See Something, Say Something: Shopping Etiquette

The other time this slogan goes into effect…During a sale at a New York City flagship. Because we are not in suburbia, ladies…

When you are in an epic line to pay and a girl “hops in” with her friend when you’re nearly at the register. And then doesn’t go up to pay at the same time as her friend. See something, Say something. Something along the lines of, “Oh I thought you were together since you cut me in line! You should be with her because the next register that opens up is mine!”

The approving eye contact and knowing nod of one listening sales associate will be all you need to feel sure you’ve done your daily duty to deal-hunting New Yorkers, old and new alike.

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