The New York subway

ManhattanI’ve been living here for a few months now and among New York’s countless charms, is the open, demonstrative nature of many of its’ inhabitants. There are so many micro battles within bigger battles within clashing belief systems. Issues are usually dealt with immediately and publicly.

I’ve twice been privy to a very vocal, subway-deep lover’s spat, the most recent of which I felt a sudden urge to step in to.  Did I, without knowing either party other than at appearance level, really think for a moment I had any right, let alone power to calm the situation?  I could certainly inflame it had I verbalized my thoughts.  These two were in the midst of a fundamental values disagreement.  Back story: a mother had just stepped into our subway carriage with child in tow and was asking for a contribution to feed her family, a not uncommon occurrence on the subway of course. They filtered through the carriage and left at the next stop.  Aforementioned couple were poles apart on their summation of what had just happened – the girlfriend felt empathy, she said it made her sad to see a mother in this vulnerable situation.  The boyfriend said the begging woman had made choices in her life that had led her to this level of desperation.

I was sitting with perhaps 40 other people, all of whom no doubt heard every word of the argument given the level of this couple’s combined noise output and you could sense almost every one of us on the verge of joining this much broader topic of conversation.  It was election time.

Everyone of us sat, listened, pondered and left.  On a relationship level this was a make or break, no gelato or Mahattan’s finest slice could easily remedy.