It’s 8:00am and I’m standing in a closet.
The closet door opens and someone else comes in and stands next to me. We don’t speak to one another. We both simply stand there and wait. The door closes.
After a few moments, the door opens again and another person walks inside. The door closes.
Then, a couple of minutes later, three more people find their way into the closet.
Now it’s getting crowded. But we all make the best of it and continue to wait…
After 10 minutes of trying to find some personal space amidst my new-found closet companions, the door opens and five more people come into the closet.
I can’t imagine that anyone else could humanly fit inside this closet yet everyone manages to squeeeeeze in and the door successfully closes.
The closet is cramped and a few coat hangers dangle fastidiously in my face. Something smells like mothballs. The girl next to me is applying a full face-worth of makeup. Someone else is devouring a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with a cup of hot coffee. My leg gets caught between an old piece of luggage and a pair of skis.
But we all grin and bear it.
After five minutes of trying to visualize myself on a private beach in Greece, the doors open and yet another person attempts to wriggle into the closet. However my current cohorts can’t budge.
Alas, this potential closet mate’s quest is thwarted and the door closes yet again.
Six minutes later, another poor soul makes a last ditch effort to enter the closet. There’s obviously no room and the door is closing….
Yet in the hopes of making it inside, he blocks the closing door with his briefcase that inevitably gets stuck. So we wait for a few moments while he desperately pulls it out from the closet door’s crushing grip. He’s left behind.
The closet brigade and I spend 20 more minutes together in these tight quarters. I make my best effort not to brush up against anyone, to sneeze, to cough, and definitely not to catch eye contact.
Just when I think I can’t stand up any longer, I realize that it’s time for me to exit the closet. I politely pardon my way out through the crowd and finally reach fresh air.
Until next time, my fellow closet comrades!
Even though the closet was only an analogy, my New York City morning subway commute can sometimes feel like a high school marching band attempting to fit into a circus clown car.
But you know what?
I love New York and I’m lucky to have this “daily grind”, especially because it brings me to my job at the end of my commute!