Something crazy happened yesterday. I was excused from jury duty for the day and wandered aimlessly in the drizzle looking for an empty taxi. Tough feat at 5pm. And then I found one. And one of the good van ones. Arm up. He stopped. The light was about to change, so I did that half-jog thing and made it there. And I opened the door. And then muttered, "Nevermind," and slammed it again. Suddenly, I had an urge to do something I hadn't done in a long time (gasp): take the subway. Before you judge, there is a litany of reasons for this historical avoidance: (1) I am a tiny bit claustrophobic; (2) I have a healthy case of paranoia and since 9/11 I am especially fearful of mass transit in general and subways in particular; (3) I have a healthy case of paranoia and since having kids I am especially fearful of most everything (flying, skiing, toys made in China, non-organic milk); (4) I have always operated under the lovely illusion that money spent on taxi fare (and gossip magazines and Starbucks) somehow doesn't count; (5) I rarely leave the Upper West Side.
Now my internal compass has always been alarmingly askew, but with the hazy memories from my Federal Court internship after my 1L year at Columbia, I sniffed out the Chambers Street Station. I descended down the damp concrete steps and I bought me a MetroCard. A Single Ride. But still.
And I found the Uptown Train. The 3. I hopped on. Prudently, I avoided prolonged eye contact with the bearded man in the beret who was pressed up against me and I and did something I learned to do in prenatal yoga when I was trying to perfect that tricky Tree Pose: I picked a spot on which to focus. My spot? A ZipCar ad that read, "Burn Rubber, Not Money" and this ad had two effects: (1) It made me feel a bit pathetic for not having a driver's license (but then I swiftly reminded myself that Barbara Walters doesn't either and she is a pretty accomplished and unpathetic person); (2) It made me thankful to live in the land of taxis and subways because I cannot drive and don't have to; and (3) It made me proud that I was not burning money on yet another cab. Confession: I did burn the money after all. On the way to the station, I popped into my Tasti D-Lite of latter day and bought Toddler three Webkinz "friends." (Mr. Crabs and Plankton from Spongebob and Magenta from Blue's Clues in case you are interested.)
Anyway, I'm proud to say I made it all the way to 72nd Street. Sure, I almost mangled a poor woman in the revolving spike-like door thing (anyone know what these things are called?) on the way out, but I made it. It's a start.
No, my Metrocard isn't good anymore. But who knows? Maybe this Uptown Girl will live a little and buy an Unlimited Ride. Oh, and learn to drive.