New York constantly screeches and screams. Fire trucks and ambulances constantly whip down the street. The massive billboards shout at you to buy soda, phones, bags, cosmetics, cars – subliminally. The men in rickshaws play loud music and speak in thickly accented English. There is no silence in New York. Nothing stands still, everybody is in a constant state of motion as if, if they stopped, they’d turn into a pillar of salt.
After you have had enough of this bedlam you will leave that lunacy and descend into the earth, into the very belly of the beast: the subway. The subway is a vast and unimaginable network of capillaries feeding the furnace of American hunger with more bodies of breathing New Yorkers. The subway is dirty and grimy, clanky and old. It smells of oil, steel and weariness. And the pizza rat. Look it up.
This miasma is arranged both alphabetically and numerically, an esoteric code, only known to New Yorkers, meant to set them apart from other mortals. The subway is an irony in that if you thought you’d escaped the hysteria of the streets above, you will be met with untold noise below. Of old steel grinding against old steel, like lovers who hate each other, the remnants of their union being passionless sex. You could convulse and die and New Yorkers will step over you to exit. Nobody looks up, never makes eye contact because God forbid should your eyes meet and see their humanity. Nobody talks in the subway. New Yorkers all look at their cellphones, ears plugged with headphones and earphones, blocking out their environment as they listen to other humans or instruments initiated by other humans. The irony therein is that although the trains are old and loud, the humans never say a word, mum as mummies.
It’s 00:47 am as I write this in Brooklyn. By the way Brooklyn is dirty, but it’s got a charming character. It’s got attitude. I’m staying in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood. The host of the Airbnb is an ageing Russian who has hung drawings of naked women in the living room area. He’s good. He is currently seated next door in a room-turned-studio, burning the midnight oil. I just returned from watching ‘MJ The Musical’ on Broadway. I’m still trembling slightly from the electricity of a Broadway performance. If you can, watch one show before you die. It’s worth your time and money.
Anyway, I’m a bit tipsy and hella tired, so I will write more about New York later. About how today we trailed a random man from a train. About Atlanta and about cancer and life and about Aroro.
Allow me sleep, it’s still my happy birthday. Technically.
I’m sorry, how are you?