Posts tagged: subway sketches
Some Subway Sketches
Looking down the nearly empty platform I see the silhouette shape of a dog, funny to see those perky, almost-bat ears stark against the white tile walls of the underground. A completely still police-dog is something unusual. Obvious kinetic energy stalled as calm potential is something unusual. I wish I could sit and talk with all service dogs. This one is almost telling me something. “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language” or so says Martin Buber. The trouble is translation. The dog pants for a moment and it seems awfully happy but who knows. What is known, though, is what isn’t known, how even its poor master is unawares of the bigger beast they both serve, here, down in one of the bellies of the belly of it. So I walk right past the dog and start climbing stairs.
The dreaded Crawl. Everyone knows The Crawl that some trains must pass through. Sometimes you know it so well, you’re so used to where it likes to lurk, that you see it coming before you’re even there. And The Crawl is a place. In The Crawl time has no meaning, motion removes itself inconspicuously and time becomes both too fast and too slow. So without time to locate it, it can’t be an event, but a place. In the sub-municipality of The Crawl headaches and yawns are born. There are certain laws in Crawl, strictly enforced: not even the happy should be smiling, physically expressed exasperation is required from at least one passenger every 3 minutes, every instance of The Crawl must feel longer than the last. From inside The Crawl the rest of the world, in its opulence of freedom and unfelt time, is the enemy, and you would die for the municipality of the Crawl while cursing it simply fueled by hatred. The Crawl is the claustrophobia of movement. The Crawl insists that the inner-ear is connected to the breathing passageways, insists on motion and not enclosure, and insists on the fact that when the Situationists said “Live without dead time,” they were a bunch of assholes for assuming it was up to the self. The Crawl is the stick pushing up along the back of your throat and you live with it or you do not live in this city.
I was told once that if you are waiting for a train, an interesting way to pass the time is to look for a battery, down on the tracks. You’ll find one every time. Don’t believe me? try it yourself. Or you do belive me and are waiting for me to tell you how it plays out. The first two times you’ll think it’s funny. The third time you’ll think it’s uncanny, but not in a way that really does the word “uncanny” justice. The fourth and fifth times you’ll think it’s funny, but in a much more sinishter way than those first few times. The sixth time you’ll realize that you’re on one of the platforms you’ve checked before, but this time you’ve found an entirely different battery, the sinister feeling will return combined with a nausea you’ll have for the duration of the following train ride. On the seventh time you’ll realize they’ve all been Duracell batteries and on the eighth time, seeing another Duracell, you’ll start to wonder if someone is just fucking with you. When the ninth time comes you’ll see an Energizer and for a moment you’ll think you were right that someone was fucking with you, but how would they know what you were thinking and were you *really* sure last time that they’d all been Duracells. It will be the only Energizer you’ll see until the 47th time you check for batteries. By the 140th time you find a battery laying along the tracks you’ll long since have given up hope for humanity and you will have replaced it with the hope that the batteries will never let you down. They won’t. After the 2,000th time you can finally stop looking, after that the batteries will come and find you. Happy hunting!
“Late Traveler” by Martin Lewis, 1949 (via thisismyblognotyours)
Some Subway Sketches