July 15, 2011
The subterranean vessel that hurtles me to the place that pays my rent is bursting at its soldered seams. The air is dead; breathing is counterproductive. The drab colors that splatter the interior of the car are an odious reminder that you are, in fact, inside something…something that has been ingested, regurgitated then stepped in. The lights flicker, falter and ultimately fade. A relief. At each stop, a few dour individuals muster the gall to exit the train and make their plaintive climb to…to…to whatever it was they climbed towards yesterday and the day before and the day before that.
And for a moment, there is space. That is, until more bodies squeeze their way into the train’s already distended belly. The disembodied conductor issues an unintelligible command through bands of rust and static and we brace ourselves as the train lurches once again to resume its crash course with punctuality. Next stop could be oblivion for all we know. As long as we get there on time. Toes are stepped on, elbows knock. We sway like kelp as the train caroms around turns. Frustration is seething yet no one is breathing.
We screech to a halt. The doors groan and we are released, like fish from a net, into one of the city’s major chambers. Confusion and commotion abound on the platforms and in the tunnels. Anxious faces see other anxious faces jostling and they begin jostling too, but they are not quite sure for what or in which direction they should be jostling. This only makes them more anxious. Teeth clenched, I break through. I reach a set of steps that will lead to the surface: a jagged labyrinth of concrete and glass that unfolds in ferocious majesty as if dropped haphazardly from above. I begin climbing to…to…to whatever it is I climbed towards yesterday and the day before and the day before that…