An important revelation came to me last summer. I realized the time had come for my daughter to learn more about her city. Yes, she visits museums, landmarks, and all of the parks. But I wanted BOLD, so I ditched the car and decided to take mass transit to school. (What a cost saver, too!) Actually, I was worried about the rat race she would have to endure and how she would adapt. The short answer, it has been the ultimate learning experience for her.
I tell my daughter to walk with a pen and her writer’s notebook because we never know what we will walk into, literally. She points out to me the funny, the sad, the weird, the shake-your-head stories, and the stories of compassion.
They are all down there, beneath NYC!
For example, last week there was an elderly woman standing on the escalator in the walk lane. My daughter, her face exploding with laughter, whispered to me, “Mom. Look.” I turned around and sure enough, the older woman appeared feeble and stopped the ‘walkers’ in their tracks. She was on the wrong side and never turned around to see the angry, frustrated faces of busy commuters, trying in vain to pass her. But you know what? The ‘wanna-be-walkers’ were all relatively patient for the 15-seconds it took for us to ascend to the next leg of the journey. And for us it was the 6-train. It was also pretty funny. Oh, I forgot to mention, my daughter and I NEVER walk in the walk lane on the escalator. There’s too much we’ll miss.
If it’s not the friendly folks handing out free morning newspapers, inspiring riders with encouraging words, “Hi Ma! [he says to me] STAY POSITIVE! IT’S YOUR DAY! STAY IN SCHOOL! MAKE IT A GOOD ONE [they say to her]!” It’s the bongo drummers on Lexington Avenue, whose beats, force strap hangers to ‘shimmy‘ their way to and from work. Yes, I take the train back and forth! The train back and forth and I love it! <<sounds like a song.
Even when it’s crowded, the stories unfold. Those are actually the best stories. Who’s pushing? Who isn’t? Who gets up for the elderly or persons with disabilities? Who doesn’t? My question is ALWAYS who’s reading what?
Why is this an important post to share? Well, the world is one big story with lots and lots of parts, plots, sub plots, slices, etc. Today’s young people should be encouraged to tell their stories.
And in my case, the people who take the subway with me every morning are never the same. They are also from ALL WALKS OF LIFE. They speak different languages, look different, and make for an exciting commute.
What’s your commute like? I’d love to hear about it.
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