Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Riding the Subway for Fun

I met a man today who rides the subway pretty much all day long just for fun. He's homeless, I think, so stationing himself at the back of one of the subway cars, propped up in the corner with all his stuff gathered around him works out well for him. But when you ask him about the fact that he more or less resides on the subway, he speaks very enthusiastically about the advantages the subway provides.

"First of all," he explains with great expression, "consider all the people from so many different walks of life that I get to meet. Why, just the other day I met a whole family that is visiting New York from New Delhi, India. They were on their way to Times Square and I was giving them directions to this great little place I know where the food is good and very cheap." He paused for just a moment and then continued, "But the best part really is getting to meet all these different people who live here right in New York. Each day I talk to stock brokers and custodians, to journalists and bike messengers. The whole world comes right through this car every day."

"Second," he went on, "I get to see all parts of the city. Sometimes I get off in Brooklyn, others times way up in Washington Heights, still other times I take the train to the Bronx. Every place is so, well, unique, you know what I mean, so unusual, and so interesting. What a great life it is to ride the subway like this. The whole world really is, like I said, right here at my doorstep, in a manner of speaking."

As I got off my at my stop at Chambers Street, I waved at my new friend as the train began to pull away. He didn't see me, though, primarily because he was already talking up a new passenger, enjoying the opportunity to tell his story to still another commuting New Yorker.

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