The fast life of switching from the local to a subway, from forty minutes to ten. Of mixed sleep in time saved and bed hair, and adapting to the smells of drugs and coffee in the morning on the Broad Street Line, or wet dog and feet on the Market-Frankford Line. Fast enough to reduce wait times and friendly, meaningless banter to a “Hey!” in the passing, forgotten almost immediately. A people watcher’s nightmare, a one second stand.
But with habit comes patterns. Habit patterns. The familiar, not necessarily the same, become one. I categorize. Stereotype, if you may, or might as well.
He blends with the morning smells. Nondescript faux leather motorist jacket, like fake riding a Harley down the aisles of a subway. It’s never sunny in the train, but he hides beneath his dark fakes. Blood shot from yesterday night? Lazy, and unsightly? Unsighted? Madras-eye? Lurking, skinning, tasting, wishfully? Riding.
The platforms at Girard are colorfully tackily teenage-girly. Mirrors and colored glass everywhere, glued to the walls, the stairs, and the people. They look at you and they see themselves. Or they see right through you. His friend waits patiently.
The subway brakes banshee and the doors crunch open. He steps out as he steps in.
“Hey Man!” they shake hands.
In an expert second, a friendly barter. A quick twenty for a quick stash for a quick trip and a quick ice cream lollipop for a daughter with the Child Services, somewhere in the system along the Broad Street Line. Everything is so quick on the Subway.