It is the city that never sleeps
on Tuesday morning
at 7:34 AM
in the F train
Every Tuesday morning, when my train passes through the station, I think about jumping in front of it. I would inch as close as I can get within the yellow line, and I would enjoy the breeze of compressed air billowing past me as a train approaches the station. The walls around the underground seem to shift as the air seems to deconstruct. The billowing screams would cascade as an avalanche of tortured souls emerging from the hallowed walls spilled with moisture and graffiti. The sweet, metallic smell of the urine decorating the subway station seems to come charging at me. It is hell, coming out, to get me, finally. I have frequently described it to be the most beautiful sensation in the world.
I end up not jumping in front of the train, evidently. I don’t know why. I always think about jumping in front of it, and considering how often I think about it, I would imagine that my thoughts would grow stronger to eventually affect my physical behavior. But, it seems, this is one of those thoughts that do not become stronger the more I think about it. I do not repress it, but I do not cultivate it either. It is just there to me, along with my other impulses to jump in front of or jump off of or jump into. Everyday, Monday through Friday, the F train passes by me, and I would have the same impulses to jump in front of it, and everyday, Monday through Friday, I would survive yet another one of my impulses.
If I were to die, I would want to die in business casual. I like the image of blood splattered on a refined button-up. It would seem appropriate that my commutes are good candidates for my death. Because, as per usual on Tuesday mornings, I am wearing business casual. Though I hate wearing business casual. It stratifies individuals, on Tuesday mornings, into two types of individuals: people in business casual and people not in business casual. And, because I am wearing a light blue button-up and caramel khakis that I had purchased from H&M a mere five days ago, I have stratified myself into a class of individuals that I have no choice but to identify with, the business casuals.
Perhaps that is why I want to die so much during my commutes. I hate that feeling of being in business casual, the feeling of emanating stratification. I feel out of place, even though I shouldn’t. My job, after all, is a business job, which requires wearing business casual, which means that the label should appropriately apply to me. Yet, I always feels as though it shouldn’t. Is that right for me to even say? Similar to how I cannot refuse to identify as an Asian-American in terms of race, I cannot refuse to identify with a class that I am technically a part of. Once again, I am overthinking such simple rules such as mandatory aesthetic guidelines for my workplace, and once again, there is a schism between my identity and my identification of identity.
But, on Tuesday mornings on the F train, it seems that the need to sleep does not draw boundaries. Everyone sleeps, business casual and non-business casual alike. At least, a third of the individuals on the train are sleeping, randomly distributed. And, when you are sleeping, you don’t care what you are wearing or what others are wearing. Nothing exists then, and aesthetics cannot exist in a place of nothingness. It is interesting to watch people doze off, only to be jarred back into existence once the train reaches a stop. My friend once mentioned that time must pass so differently for them. I can perceive the 45 minutes it takes to reach 42nd Street from Church Ave. But, to them, the time must pass so quickly.
Or slowly. Our mind does wonders to compensate for lost time through altering memory.
I usually read on my commutes. I wake up an before I start my commute for this very reason; I don’t want to fall asleep during my commutes. My commutes are precious to me. When I first started to read during my commutes, I was still reading about love and existence, going off a reading list that will be my independent study next semester. I solidified some concepts in my head, including the Other, which has reconstructed how I conceptualize the idea of being. For a time, during the day, I would be thinking about this concept frequently. But lately, I haven’t gotten around to thinking about the other or any other ideas found in the theoretics of love and existence. I still do, like I always do, but not often.
I still read during my commutes. I stopped reading about love and existence, however, instead focusing my attention on some books about business and politics… and Case in Point. Oh, Case in Point. The “MBA Bible”. God, I hate that description. I have spent so much time on the book over these past couple of weeks. I have gotten to the point of Case in Point where I could no longer read it for the sake of reading it. I need to create frameworks of cases before I read through the dialogue that the author provides. And that is what I did this morning. I sat in an empty seat, like I do every morning, and I took out my yellow legal pad, and I wrote down frameworks of cases until I heard “42nd Street” on the loudspeaker.
To be honest, I enjoy my commutes. Writing down case frameworks on my way to work is probably the most entertaining part of my day. It is certainly the most intellectually stimulating part of my day. Excel, unfortunately, does not pique my curiosity, even as I am learning how to use Excel without a mouse. I wonder if this is what adult life is: mindless repetition throughout the day only to be redeemed by the few moment of freedom that I have during the weeks and months and years. Such as my commutes. Regardless of whatever company I end up working for, it cannot control my commutes. No one can control my commutes. My commutes are mine.
Mind the gap.