Monday morning, and I am out the door with an extra spring in my step … I am on my way to:
The journey there:
Fueled by two cups of coffee and anticipation, I wait for the train into the city. I am surrounded by trench coats and stylish ladies in impeccably cut suits, and also two teenagers nervously studying a subway map and calculating their journey to a destination somewhere deep in Brooklyn. The train whooshes into our little station and then I’m off to hunting for a place to sit. Soon I am wedged between a very busy lady juggling two cell phones and clicking away on her laptop, and a gentlemen who has perfected the “subway fold” (which is an actual art form you can read about at the bottom of this Q&A page). Jersey suburbs race past the windows as the sky gets brighter, and the waterways of the meadowlands near Secaucus sparkle in the morning light. Penn Station is alive with commuters – the hustle and bustle of hundreds of people on the move. I make my way down hallways and up stairwells and through corridors to the subway line I need: the #1, 7th. Avenue line. It’s rush hour, and there is no place to sit, no room to breathe – but I squish happily in and find a sliver of space. We lurch and heave and hurtle our way to:
where I hop out and begin the short walk to Teacher’s College. As I wait on the corner for the light to change, a school bus pulls up and a gaggle of brightly colored coated and scarved children clamber on to the goodbyes of cheerful parents. Slowly, TC comes into view, and I join a group of teachers chatting excitedly about the workshop we’re all about to attend. The day has, finally, really started.
The journey back:
The walk back to the subway is long. My head is so full of all that I have heard, learned, thought about and am still thinking about, that I walk three blocks past the subway stop before realizing it. Drat! It is just before rush hour, but the train is filled with students making their way home – the girls next to me discuss their Dante assignment, the boys across confer about basketball practice. A well dressed gentleman boards the train and then proceeds to harangue us: we are all going straight to hell, there is no hope, just give it up already and CONFESS!! Everyone pretends not to notice this production, not to hear a single word at all. But one of the kids, who has had enough of grownups yelling instructions (hasn’t he been in school all day, listening to grownups yelling just like this?), advises him to “Chill, dude”…and then I’m back at Penn Station.
Now there are commuters and travelers and shoppers – it’s busier than ever and harder than ever to work my way towards my train. But, there is a method to this madness, everyone makes their way to where they need to be – eventually. Soon, I have a window seat and am back to watching the meadowlands fly by. The sky is full of red, gold and purple drama – the day’s last hurrah.
I leaf through my notes, and then pick up on a conversation between two friends in the seat ahead. They are planning their Thanksgiving feasts – trading recipes for sweet potato pie, green bean salad and cranberry relish. The gentleman beside me turns and smiles – “Thanksgiving already…my favorite holiday!” I nod and agree…. Thanksgiving around the corner, a great day in the city, all is well in my world this November day.