by Sherri Nicholds
Each day, the same. Step out onto the platform, keep moving with the crowd. Don’t stop, try not to feel like just another rat in a tunnel.
I know it’s not just me; the thousands surrounding me are going through the same motions. Even the commuters that are dressed down are trying to move up. It’s the way of life in the city and it will never change.
The same route, at the same time, every day of the week (excluding Saturdays and Sundays of course – even a rat in the race needs to take a break). Yet even with the constant state of repetition there are so few familiar faces; testament to the fact there are so many of us, etiquette re-enforcing anonymity, as we avoid eye contact with each other in the way only strangers forced into intimate proximity with each other can.
I make it through the turnstile in one fluid movement, years of practice making us all symbiotic with the metal and concrete around us.
Then onto the escalator, the prospect of daylight is tantalizingly close, that moment of fresh air after the stifling heat of the subway. I stare at the feet of the man in front of me, waiting for the movement of our feet back onto solid ground.
People at the side of me push onwards and upwards, not satisfied to let themselves be moved by anything else. A career symptom of relying on only yourself and your own momentum.