When a train sits in the station with its doors closed it is palpably awkward. People stand and stare at the doors waiting for them to open in a way that would make Pavlov proud but nothing happens like the mocking silence after a burst of polite conversation between two forced acquaintances. I was starting up the stairs away from a scene like this when I heard a disembodied voice attempt to sound authoritative, “Open the doors!” I turned and watched the train remain immobile while a woman pressed a hand against the closed door, like it might be the key. I kept seeing the train jerk forward, taking her hand with it. But the train didn’t move. Bouncing between the tricks of my imagination and the evidence of my senses it created the perceived effect of a train rocking back and forth, indecisive about coming and going. Not too far from the truth since there stood all those people earnestly confused by the disruption of the norm, no one inside our outside the train having figured out yet whether it was coming, going, or staying forever. Something something Deleuzian difference, went my brain.
Street level heat is bad, but I go down a level to swipe my card and it’s worse. Then down another level to where the Manhattan bound trains stop. Then down another level to head deeper into Brooklyn. Here lungs feel heavy with humidity and walking down the platform is better described as plodding. Plodding down to where the back of the train will be when it comes rolling in, the 3 train does come rolling in, pushing ahead of itself rolling waves of air. Disgusting summer air, tunnel air, nowhere else to go but forced in (or out. depending.) and directly at me, straight into my face. A new form of death and torture occurs to me, suffocation by means of air, not its lack. When the train doors open I step into a nearly empty and ice cold car, but I still feel heavy and I wonder if breathing is still difficult for other reasons. Something something Deleuzian difference, goes my brain.