Today is Wednesday, August 13th 2008. As per usual I commuted in to NYC via the train across the street from my house. Every weekday that I’m feeling well plays out roughly the same way. I walk across the street with stick at my side and my far too heavy backpack keeping me grounded. Exchange pleasantries with the co-commuters while we wait. Depending on the train I find my place- today it is a long car behind the engine, 2nd seat on the left. Prop stick against the wall, assume commuter position.
From the outside looking in, that position is a static one, assumed by the quiet masses. For me it is where the action starts. Depending on that day’s distraction -be it the Science Times, the New Yorker, and lately any book by Haruku Murakami- there is an ebb and flow between the read, the thoughts of the moment and the cacophony of the commutation orchestra. All this input is punctuated with the pull of sleep, a not-too-distant memory of a few hours earlier.
The code of silence may surprise the spectator who has never experienced the mass transit commute into a big city. It is a satisfying start to the work day. A collective moment honored by all, and interrupted only by the call for tickets and the staccato of the hole-puncher making its way through the car.
It is this time, in between the quiet clamor of the daily migration that I, along side hundreds with whom I share the experience, start my monologue for Wednesday, August 13th, 2008.
Today I feel different.
I woke up feeling the dizziness I have felt since December but as soon as I moved from the front lawn to the platform, I knew this commute wouldn’t be the same. While the details on the outside were identical to yesterday’s, what was happening on a neuronic level was new. Something barely interpretable but present none-the-less. Just to be sure I put it to the test. I added flourishes to the action walk up, walk down, walk across repeat. I try increasing my speed slightly and adding a rhythmic jump that I haven’t known for some time.
So many take a stairway trip for granted. I’ve watched how effortless it is for most – not a second thought, never even grabbing the handrail. I haven’t had that luxury since I was 20. But today, I added a little skip to may downward trend. Taking a moment to experience that minor change and relish it later as I write- it’s a nuance that excited me for what I might notice on the way home. Wish me luck.