I have to start by saying I think I forgot the golden rule of NYC. Don’t talk to strangers. That’s the rule, right? I have stopped talking to the random people in Times Square, I outgrew that rookie mistake after my first few trips to the city when someone tried to sell me their mixed CD. My best friend had to practically rip my arm off to get me to keep moving when I was just trying to be nice. Oops. But I was young, I didn’t know any better. Here I am, almost 28 years old and I just accidentally eavesdropped on a conversation in a coffee shop and couldn’t help but add my two cents. I think she was grateful for the shared opinion but weirded out that I actually talked to her. My bad.
I literally arrived here on the train no less than 30 minutes ago and after a year hiatus of visiting the city and I have already broken the rules. But, that is not what this post was supposed to be about. Like I said, I just arrived on the train and while everything else in the world seems really scary right now: the presidential race, North Korea, my ever-increasing realization that I have to be an adult every day; my train ride was a reminder of calm and simplicity. I love the train. If I could take a train everywhere I would. No road rage, the ability to do other things, and a decrease of all things relating to an automobile.
When I boarded my train this morning, I realized that my train was really bound for Washington, D.C. and a I had a pang of jealousy that I was not bound there myself. About eight years ago to the day I was taking that exact trip to Powershift and a piece of me wishes I could do it all over again. On that ride, there were about 7 of us traveling together and we had a great time. I don’t mind traveling alone, but that trip was just a tad more fun. We also had purpose. We were fighting the good fight. We were learning how to lobby for green energy, and lower carbon emissions, and a sound energy plan.
My trip to NYC this weekend has no such purpose except to remove me from my normal day to day and bring me to a city where I can literally just melt into the crowd. Now at the mid-point of the semester, all I needed right now was to get away and so I decided to hop on a train to the city. My coping skills are impeccable. Ha. But the city has a rhythm that makes my heart happy and makes me feel a little less alone in this big world. And so my eavesdropping was even more perfectly placed this afternoon. The twenty-something in the coffee shop was posing the question of “why do we have to be married to be complete? and why can’t we all just live in a house with our closest friends? why can’t that be our full life?” and I couldn’t help but jump in with a “yes, that. all of that. I agree” and then laugh embarrassedly that I had just outed myself as eavesdropping. whatever. I’ll never see her again and I think we both felt a little better knowing that someone else felt the same way we do about societal expectations.
It was a pleasant, if slightly awkward, moment. But that is pretty much the epitome of every trip I take to the city.