- N Training
New York City- I board the N Train in Queens, sit down, and close my eyes. It is not dangerous this, I know the subway like the back of my hand.
The N and the R lines have seats, versus the 4, 5, and 6 (which run down Lexington or up into the Bronx.) The Lexington cars have grey benches. Seats are more private. They have a slight curve to them, differentiating them from the long, unsegregated bench.
I have my headphones on. And some old music soothes me. iPods are but a future memory in those days, the 90s.
- NYC Subway Sandwich Map
We grind through all the Queens’ exits before ducking low low under the river, heading in. To the City. And more stations.
We round that curve, lurching to the left with a screech.
Riders start to fill up the train as we move through midtown. Suddenly, we chug. As in, not moving fluidly. But in little jerks. Like Tom Cruise. Dancing. To a stop. And then we start up again.
We pull into the next station. And wait. Without moving. This had happened before. We wait more. This has not happened before. Not this long.
I have music, but most of the riders don’t and they exchange looks, as in a secret Santa gift swap. Wide eyed. Surprised with each other.
- Rawr Godzirra!
The announcer, the conductor, comes on. Above us and orders us off. For some reason, which I do not hear. We are told there are no downtown trains available.
We stream out of the exits onto Broadway, hundreds of people. Acting in our own Godzirra movie. All we need is a giant lizard.
A guy near me turns around. Anyone going to the Village?
I am, I reply. And so does a businessy woman to his left.
Let’s get a taxi. And he whistles one streaming downtown.
- Madonna in a taxi cabby, New York City
I sit in the front and they plop into the back. Where to, the cabbie asks in a Russian accent, with that eastern hardboiled look. Like he has something other than blood, maybe a vodka-infused borscht, pumping through his arteries.
The Village, I reply. 5th Avenue near the Park. The passengers in the back mumble approval.
He grunts and veers into traffic.
How is your day going? the lady asks him.
Busy? I inquire, to which he bobs his head. I stare out the window.
Had any celebrities recently, the male passenger asks. I think it an odd question, but remain mute.
Yeah, Madonna. About a month ago. Where you are sitting, he says, jerking his thumb back at the woman.
Get outta here, the male passenger rasps. I want to take him up on his offer.
- Greenwich Village, My Arch Enemy
I could not see her behind me, but I hear the poor business-lady shifting uncomfortably in her seat.
We drive downtown, through traffic. No one says anything else. Our taxi has turned serious.
And soon the arch of the Village looms and we pile out. Standing, we split the fare three ways.
We should have split it four ways, with one share being Madonna’s. She ruined our small-talk and she is part of the 1%, right? Heck, she should have paid it all. And given us stipends. And paid our college loans. After all, we are living in a material world. . .