Thursday, January 26, 2006

Scenes from the Subway

Two Chinese men yelling their conversation across the subway car while the rest of us pretend not to notice or be disturbed.....

A Filipino girl sprawls herself out over three seats, bitchin' aloud to her girlfriend about her boyfriend problems....she probably thinks I don't understand, she probably thinks I'm Chinese....

A Brazilian? girl with the most intriguing way of articulating her speech....I am fascinated as I watch her lips move in the tangential reflection on the window....if you want to stare at someone on the subway, that's the way to do it without being noticed......

Okay, this scene is from the Kipling station washroom, not the actual train, but noteworthy nonetheless....as I am doing my business at the urinal, a stocky black guy yells into the mirror by the sink "Get the fuck off my face!"...."Don't you know how much these people hate you?!"...." They hate you like poison!".....I walk out bypassing the sinks, not washing my hands!.....

The rush hour crowds pack the train like sardines....it reminds me of rush hour in Japan, but not as bad...people smile politely at each other as they try to keep their balance whenever the train screeches to a halt.....in Japan you don't have to worry about toppling your neighbours over if you loose your balance, because the sheer human density makes it physically impossible.....

A couple "speak" to each other in sign language beneath a sign for the Spanish Language Center.....poetic.....I wonder how Spanish sign language looks like......

A slightly portly gentleman pulls out two McDonald's cheeseburgers....I realize that it's Thursday, double cheeseburger day.....I think back and miss the Tuesday BigMac days with Val, Hamid, Char, Mare and Mabes....Margaret would get my fries.....

A white lady in a long puffy-jacket sits in the seat located anterior and perpendicular to mine. I can't help but notice her disheveled appearance, she constantly searches in her pocket pulling out various items. As she does so, she stares straight ahead with her mouth ajar. I can't help but to stare, because as she fidgets in her pocket, she keeps hitting my knee. One item she pulls out of her pocket is a bottle of diazepam which she places in her lap as she continues to fidget.............

A huge fity-cent looking guy in army fatigue pants raps aloud acapella.....or does he have earphones on?.....oh well, I'm not gonna stare at him to find out......

.......I've learned not to find myself riding on the subway alone without some kind of reading material....you gotta be staring somewhere and you can only spend so much time reading the ads on the walls and ceiling.....In an attempt to mind my own business amidst all the subway chaos, I've been losing myself in my books....when I can't take any more medicine, I turn to poetry.....I re-discovered a poem that I remember as a child, framed on a wall in my aunt's apartment....I guess a child can't really appreciate the words, but the title stuck with me for some reason....I appreciate the words now:

Desiderata
Max Ehrmann

'Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.'

3 comments:

Momo the Wonder Dog said...

Desiderata is a great poem. Nice post.

Pandabonium said...

Good story to lead up to Desiderata. Thanks for posting that.

efren2 said...

great memory rentention. and yes, this is a beautiful world with beautiful people like you and me. :)