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Ride the 1973 NYC subway

Watch your step going down the stairs. Be sure to avoid that puddle of vomit halfway down. Steer clear of the one five steps further along as well. Absolutely do not make eye contact with the man at the bottom between you and the turnstile. Pretend he does not reek of urine. Proceed quickly. Deposit your token with haste. Make your way toward the tracks. Ignore the rats. Walk along the platform but not too close to the edge. Find an area largely unoccupied by others. Do not choose a spot where absolutely no one is though. Exercise patience while waiting for the train to arrive.

Note the graffitti-peppered cars as they pull in. Be cautious of body contact with the debarking passengers. Step onto the train. Watch the gap. Survey the car’s interior for places to sit. Note the odd stains on many of the benches. Opt to stand. Secure your hand on the leather strap as the train pulls out of the station. Continue avoiding eye contact with those around you. Pretend you don’t hear the crazy woman talking to Jesus. Stare straight ahead.

Shift your weight between your feet as the subway brakes for the next station. Clench your jaw to pinch out the screeching feedback from the PA as much as possible. Try to note what the conductor is saying anyway. Question if you heard that right. Hope you didn’t. Watch helplessly as the doors close again and the train moves along. Definitely refrain from eye contact with the strange man who just got on and is sidling up to you. Grit your teeth. Blink hard. Tune him out.

Wait for the doors to open at the next station. Make a run for it. Remember to watch the gap. Note that you did hear the conductor correctly. Curse yourself for choosing the wrong train. Try to regain your bearings. Believe that it wasn’t a gunshot you just heard. Listen to the screaming though. Find the stairs. Take them two at a time. Push through the turnstile. Break into a run. Pant if you must. Flee to the street. Politely decline the prostitute’s offer. Move to the curb. Raise your hand. Hail a taxi.

Open the door. Climb in with determination. Tell the driver to take you to your original destination. Close the door. Breathe. Try not to note how reckless the driver is. Be evasive in answering his relentless questions. Buckle your seatbelt on second thought. Gaze out the window. Marvel at the seediness. Attempt not to grind your teeth. Brace yourself as the driver overshoots his mark. Be polite. Pay the fare. Tip. Open the door. Breathe. Close the door. Walk to your party, finally.

Prepare yourself to do it all over again tomorrow. Love it.

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