New York City

What do you think about when it comes to the Big Apple? New York City the place to be right…? Wrong.

It’s only the place to be when you are a tourist, you are amazed by the tall buildings, the bustling streets, and the lights. But one thing for sure coming from a New Yorker, it’s nothing to be excited about. You see the same dirty, crowded, smelly streets, tunnels, and stores everyday of your life. It starts to change a person after a while. Everyday your rushing for the express train in the dirtiest tunnels that are run by the MTA, rats that bustle through your feet, trash that is thrown into the tracks, people who spit and cough, and take up your space. It’s rush hour and you have no other choice but to get inside the train. You want to imagine your life somewhere else at this point. You picture the countryside or maybe you picture yourself next to a beach house. Never in your right mind have you ever dreamed about being squished by five people. At the same time your holding a wet umbrella next to your leg and it’s starting to soak your pants, but you figure there is no other way. You can barely move your hands as you are slowly suffocated by others who are breathing in your own oxygen.

Everyone is breathing each other’s breath. 

They look at you as a way of communicating just by eye contact that they are just as uncomfortable as you are. They all just want to pass through this uncomfortable state, waiting for the next train stop so about half the people can get off and then again about another half step right back in. This is a New Yorker’s life style. Every weekday it is the same story. It is the same routine.

As I take the train every morning I notice how people prepare themselves for the day. Most of them are grasping a cup of coffee in their hands, alert and awake ready to take the day head on. Some are busy on their i-phones and playing with their i-pads. People are listening to their music, reading their “Kindles“(what happened to books?), and holding their newspapers, savoring the bit of news they will read while they wait to transfer for another train, bus, or until they get to work.

When your day is finished and you’re heading home, it is time to prepare for the worst. You prepare yourself for someone to step on your feet, to be pushed, for the smell of bad body odor, and the struggle to get off the train as hard as it is to get in it.

It makes you wonder though, doesn’t it? Everyday we do the same thing. We are like drones. We wake up, we go to work, we go home, then the cycle repeats. What is the point? Are we just counting the days for our death? Are we counting the days for that one week vacation, where we actually go somewhere exciting? (I’m not talking about Long Island). Where is the change?

Maybe the city shouldn’t be a long-term thing. If we actually follow our intuitions and do the things we wished we did instead of waiting for our “fate” to take care of it for us, maybe we would be happier. But for how long?

The city destroys our sensual side of nature. It makes us hard as rocks, we begin to form lines on our foreheads, our eyes start getting darker, hair begins to turn grayer, and even our pores are filled with dirt.

New York City… the place to be, where the city never sleeps, where the people never sleep.

Guardian Angel

He is an 83-year-old man. He works Monday through Friday. All the aisles look the same. He doesn’t make much. He doesn’t have much. He reads his newspaper, cuts his apple, and eats his lunch. He wears his hat, hair is rare underneath, his bubbly jacket, his plaid scarf. He wears a gold ring on his index finger. He squinches is eyes but speaks to you with warm words.

A man stands in the corner in 30 degree weather distributing flyers. Not one accepts his invitation. They run, they pretend like they don’t have arms. For a moment I feel pity for him. For a moment I am him. We make eye contact. Puppy love, he’s tired, and I become tired. I take his flyer and I smile. For a moment we connect. The storms are chasing each other. The stars are blazing.

A man can barely walk, his legs beneath him shake and bend as he pushes his wheelchair. Old age has battered his mobility. I’m thinking about you tonight. I’m thinking about you because I’m curious about you. Where are you?

A woman with hands that barely move. Arthritis causes her deformity. Her fingers are bent but she does not bend them. It is a night of frustration as she tries brushing her teeth. Taking out change, unbuttoning a shirt, holding a hand. I think about you too.

He comes in looking to buy a nail clipper. He knows people can smell him. He doesn’t mean to. He’s tried. He’s tried all his life to be what society wants him to be. Men and women stand far away, his stench disturbs them. But I take him in like he is my own.

A man has Parkinson’s disease . He can barely put his pin number at the register. He tells the cashier his pin, putting his trust in her. He is shaking and I pass my hand and I feel his. I feel his vibration. I am shaking with him. I am shaking with you. It’s puppy love again. We make eye contact and smile. Smile of warmth and compassion. Complete symmetry. We are human. Nothing else is important but this.

I think about them because who else does? Life is too short to ignore the little details like these.