On trust and transit

Riding in the subway car from Crown Heights to catch the F-Train up to the Lower East, I was pleasantly situated between a mother, her 5-ish year old daughter, and a gruff looking construction worker in a reflective jacket with his eyes closed beneath plastic glasses. 

This was right around when “drumf” was first talking of the Muslim ban, and days after the Paris Attack, of which I learned about from Twitter. 

When I first got to New York I remember loving the diversity of the Subway. Everyone sat side by side no matter the race/gender/religion. 

Everyone was sharing this space together, cohabiting it nicely. Although everyone avoided each other's eye contact.  If you want to spot a NY newbie, he’s the guy with muted headphones to eavesdrop, and head on a swivel looking you in the eye (me).

Today, this was exaggerated, as if a mental weight kept our heads hanging low from yesterdays news. There weren't many earnest eyes to catch.

It felt like the world was crumbling. Such a beautiful city built off love and art! HOW. Did you feel like that after Paris? 

Then the distrust. Then the gut reaction to “ban!” The media wants us to pick sides. Not to belabor the point, but many of these attackers aren’t even immigrants! An invented “other.” The media fuels the distrust. 

Come to think of it, I can’t think of a time where the news wasn’t saying the world was crumbling down. Think about that! 

Anxiety as fuel for the already anxiety ridden. You can’t live in a state like that, where it’s ALWAYS crumbling. 

But I was cleansed by the subway. Public transit is the circulatory system of urban society. It mixes and jumbles our paths. You’re all part of the same body mixing and moving and going about your life. It makes us equals. If the train’s held up, we’re ALL late. Simply riding made it feel like we were all going on with our lives. Maybe that’s what New York is so good at. Just moving on already. 

There's so much trust in New York City. I think it's fueled by this circulation. Simply passing and interacting, even if it means sitting next to one another. Everyone there feels pride in their home and is addicted to it's fervor, they want to convert you to it. 

To build and trust instead of crumble is to picture a world that's not zero-sum. That we're all headed in the same direction. That when some of us get held up we're all held up. At the very least it's less tiresome than to worry and distrust. 

Maybe I’ll miss my stop just so I’ll see what it’s like in another persons path. I’ll reinvigorate my trust person to person. One donated-dollar-by-donated-dollar to the milk-crate musician. Maybe I’ll catch an eye and our mental weight will lighten if even for a moment.

And maybe if I get off at the next stop I’ll simply step into a new role. Circulated back through the world amongst other beings of different statuses and ages and backgrounds. 

LifeDavid Sherry