When not bothered with car alarms, subway track shovings, phlegm-splattered streets, or with being steamrolled by high-powered, well-dressed residents, I appreciate the city with a renewed vision.
On Sunday I enjoyed the break dancers on the train without worrying about getting kicked in the face by the one who does back flips. Their music was an unusual underground club mix. I wondered who the artist was, but didn’t want to push past passengers to ask the dancers. So I just enjoyed looking at New York characters on the train like a wide-eyed tourist. Usually I’d be scowling, hyperventilating, crying.
After Trader Joes and Fairways – both madhouses – I went to the train station without the usual threat of impending doom. A black man sitting on a stool on the downtown side was warming up on the electric guitar. The rhythmic pattern unfolded into Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. He had a nice psychedelic improvisation. I wanted to run across the tracks to sing in accompaniment.
But you can’t have everything, right? The conductor announced that the train wouldn’t go all the way up. The last stop was City College. We had to get out and wait for the next train. Of course it was crowded.
My blood sugar tanked. My euphoria – gone. It dissipated into annoyance aimed at the woman who didn’t appreciate that people had gotten off at the last stop and that she now had room to move away from me.
Sapped of energy, I took the train past my usual stop to the next one because there’d be no hill. Exhausted, I became neurotically focused on what might be wrong other than a common need to eat.
The Carrot Top bakery was on the way. Just maybe, they would sell Black Forest Cake by the slice again. When they had stopped selling it like this, I thought of having a Black Forest Cake party, an excuse to buy the cake without dealing with the siren call of the whole cake in my refrigerator for me to eat by myself. What — ho! They sold it by the slice again.
Turns out the lack of energy I had at the last leg of my trip was in my head. I skipped home now, cake in hand. Cake, the succor of sinners, the balm in Gilead, the rotter of *teeth bones.
*A shout out to my friend who referred to teeth as “exposed bone.” I totally got this idea from her!