Since moving to Manhattan, the stop pictured below has had one exit-staircase under construction (and out of commission) causing a massive bottleneck of hurried bodies cramming their way up the open staircase every day during rush hour.
I stopped fighting it about a year ago, realizing that it’s much less trouble if I just step aside while the commuter-hordes battle their way up out of the underground.
I even factor the lost time in as I’m leaving my apartment in the morning. “Oh, I forgot to email so-and-so about such-and-such. I’ll do it on the platform at 22nd while I wait for the stairs to clear out.”
It’s become a part of my routine. Something I expect... even count on.
This morning, the 6-Train-Stop at 22nd Street was altogether different.
I got off the train (as I always do) knowing there would be a mad rush of workers heading up the stairway. I stepped aside (as I always do) to the southwest corner of the platform so the crowds could pass me and I realized that something was very different.
The stairway that had always been closed was now open!
I stood there staring as if it was some sort of mirage that I was seeing in the desert.
I looked to my left and a woman in her mid-forties was also standing there staring in disbelief. I looked to my right and young man in his twenties was also staring in awe of the open passageway in front of him. She looked confused. He looked excited.
After staring for a few seconds, the woman grumbled something I couldn’t quite make out, and quickly turned around and got in line to walk up the stairway that always was (and always is) clogged with travelers.
The young man looked at her, then looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, then darted down the new hallway disappearing up the new staircase.
I was the only one left. Both staircases were open now.
I stood there thinking to myself, “I’ve wanted that stairway to be open for years. And now here I am wondering if I should actually use it or just use the other one I always use." Before I could stall anymore I lunged toward the new tunnel- and up the new staircase- for the first time ever onto a new corner of the street.
There's something a bit existential happening in the story, isn't there? It seems that...
We get so accustomed to the way things are that we hardly ever consider looking up from our lives to see if anything has changed. We may not even believe that change is a possibility anymore.
Other times we see change happening right before our eyes (change that we’ve wanted for such a long time) but we're afraid to walk forward into it because it means leaving a life of predictability.
Which type of traveller are you?
Grumbling through your days believing that things will never get better so you just put your head down and grind through another day?
Afraid to embrace the change (which you’ve waited for so long) happening right before your eyes- and now that it’s here you’re going to miss the routine to which you've grown so accustomed.
The Cautious Hopeful?
You have some reservations, but “It’s here." you say. "I don’t know exactly what lies before me, but change has come, and God is with me, so here goes.”