Gluts, Subway Trains, and Eight Minutes of Life
I feel it, long before I see it. Suddenly, out of the dark hole, it arrives. Like a silver bullet being shot out of a gun, it hurls itself forward toward the loading platform.
I glance at my phone, 11:30 pm. We are part of a larger crowd, standing along the edge of the loading platform. As the subway screeches to a halt, the train opens it's sliding doors. Glancing at the human sardine can in front of me and then at my friend, she gives me a reassuring smile, grabs my arm, and we are moving toward the door. With only seconds left, she slides in under several taller people, attempting to pull me with her. The only problem is that I am MUCH taller and bigger than she is. My foot barely makes it over the threshold and a tall, strong gentleman reaches out, places his hand on my lower back, and pulls me forward into the contorted mangle of bodies. I reach up for a hand grip, and realize there is a smallish lady with her face directly in my armpit, oh yikes! (I can only imagine what she must be thinking.) Not wanting to stand out as a "visitor", I decide not to make eye-contact. My unreasonable mind decides to have fun with this. Suddenly, thoughts of "the train crashing and the aid workers finding an odd assortment of body parts in places that they shouldn't be" are swirling and attempting to hijack the hilarity of this situation.
Seconds tick by and the doors start to slide shut but bounce back open. My body is touching so many others, I am working hard to remain calm. Obviously, people around here don't seem to have a problem with this. Maybe it is just my "West Coastness" and my desire to keep a personal bubble around me. Anyway, I just keep telling myself that this will just be for eight minutes as we go under the Hudson River. I can do anything for eight minutes.
Suddenly, the gentleman who just pulled me in by my back, simultaneously gives me a sympathetic glance, whispers "Sorry, lady" and scoops my bum up and into the car. Yes, you guessed it, the door couldn't close because my bottom was in the way. Realizing this is an awkward situation for both of us, I attempt to stand still and think of other things. BUT....I can't, this is just too hilarious and I fear it is about to get even funnier. This stranger now has his hand on my bum and won't be moving it for the next eight minutes because he can't! It is stuck between the pressure of my well developed gluts and the steel door. Truly, it is like a can of sardines, with five too many crammed in. To top it off, there is a deafening silence in the train car and all I can think of is, "The pizza I ate after the poetry slam, really isn't sitting well in my tummy. I hope the rumblings don't decide to exit before the eight minute ride to Hoboken is over."
The train finally pulls into the station and the doors open. We have arrived and I am beyond grateful.
Taking care to keep my joy contained and my eyes diverted, I exit with the masses up the steep stairs to freedom. Suddenly I am stifling the giggles. I can't even tell my sweet friend what has taken place because I am undone with laughter.
It is 12:10 am. Strolling through the dark streets of Hoboken, we chat about the evenings events; poetry and short story readings; deliciousful tapas with Adrian Pasdar and the two others; the "Snakeman"; and the fact that I am so "West Coast". It has been an amazing day.
Arriving back at her 500 square foot residence, we quickly dress for bed and turn the lights off. I lay here pondering the gift of this day. My heart is full; my mind is entertained; my body is exhausted; and I am grateful that the air-biscuit did not escape on the train. Joy and contentment for the gift of this day flood my heart and I smile as I drift off to sleep. Maybe this is what all days are intended to be like?
I never knew that eight minutes of life could be so full of wild experiences; random thoughts, and such a vast variety of feelings. Maybe this is how life really is - just eight minutes. When I am old, and my body is worn, will my life feel like just one long eight minute adventure? May we not be so plank-eyed and self-absorbed as to waste the days that our Creator has gifted to us for His purposes.
Until We Chat Again,
The Plank-Eyed Girl