it's cool tonight, breeze coming in through open windows, et cetera.
coming uptown I wait at the platform, enter the train. all of a sudden I notice that there's something different in the air so I take my headphones off and look around, gauge directions, locations, attitudes.
there's always a specific way in which a car becomes settled, people nestling into familiar modes of transportation. when people who are new come here there's a stiffness, an unfamiliarity or a wariness that comes out through body language, muscles not quite fully relaxed maybe, invisible spaces delinated in air. watch out. I sat next to such a couple for fifty streets one day and had to encounter the sort of silent carefulness humming auratic around their presence, found myself unconsciously taking on this attitude.
tonight something's different -- maybe it's the night warmth, but this car seems to be receptive, everybody tuned in and sharp, gentle buzzing like the line noise coming through an expectant microphone that's just been plugged in, antennas that've just been turned. everywhere I look there's someone looking back at me. there's a strange openness. whenever something happens on a train everyone looks in the same direction; this train feels like this, except that nothing is happening. everybody is oriented towards each other. suddenly I get a sense of family, some sort of strange unity. it's hard to explain this subway language, the invisible dance, the way in which people situate themselves in relation to each other. it's even harder to describe when this language changes, when shifts occur and the typically mute backdrop of people standing becomes an altogether readable canvas.
after I get off and walk a half a block in this weather, in this air, I pretend to understand.