The dangers of falling asleep on the train are apparent enough that it feels silly to list them. Even in the middle of the day falling asleep on the train seems like the ultimate state of vulnerability, alone and exposed to a rotating group of all sorts from places you wouldn’t usually go. I know people who have fallen asleep on the train, ridden it back and forth unconscious. Most of them wind up lost or robbed or both, but everyone’s always relieved to have come out of that sleep alive. These episodes are reserved, though, for the sorts of people who have them as a matter of course. The ones who don’t surprise with their surprising stories about where (or rather “How”) they wound up. And that’s just the thing, not “Where does the train go” but rather “Where do you wind up” after you’ve fallen asleep on the train that causes the anxiety.
You can’t help falling asleep on the train from time to time and when it overcomes you it’s awfully nice. There’s usually a bit of magic to it, the train jerks just right to wake you up before your stop. There’s the brief moment of embarrassment that fades when you feel the boost from the brief rest you’ve gotten and the feeling that someone was watching over you (rather than casing you). Even missing your stop doesn’t seem so bad, maybe it’ll happen while riding the 6 downtown leaving just your lone, prone body in the car to go the circuit around the closed and quiet City Hall station. You won’t even have to switch platforms after waking up and realizing you’ve missed your stop.
There are times (and they always seem to come early in the morning or after a workout or other moments when you’re just exhausted and susceptible, these times) when you’ll enter a car and the lights will be broken or dimmed to the point of making reading your book impossible so you’ll rest it on your lap and relax your posture (no need for the forward lean into the book you can’t read) and you’ll feel the weight of yourself settling with the steady click-clack of the tracks which seems to have been engineered for exactly this purpose and the fear of losing control will be just enough to keep your senses but not enough to really keep your eyes open between stops and the jerk of the train in certain turns will remind you that you aren’t working hard enough to protect yourself but that seductive metronome of the train in sound and slight vibration will make you want to smile (it’s almost too disgusting to think of such a thing) at the idea of release and when your eyes close they roll back into your head and you don’t even notice that nice reflex until the moment of opening them again comes and forcing them back into place and it feels legitimately painful not least of all because holding on is just so hard and maybe just a couple stops, but if it’s just a couple stops can’t you just be vigilant enough to make it, fuck. Just thinking about it makes me sick.