Since I now how have my headphones, ipod and sunglasses to make me appear almost completely submersed in my own world of inner reflection, I’ve started to actually pay attention to who is on the subway, street and sidewalk with me during my commute. I must say I favor the morning, as by the evening hour I am usually tired and void of energy to spend on deciding who around me has the most interesting thing to say about themselves without saying anything.

For one thing I’ve now ridden in the same train car as a young couple from Union Square to 23rd street, and each time I’ve seen them they’ve managed to get the same spot – standing near the door, nestled up against the railing with his back to the door. Neither are extremely tall, but he’s always looking down at her, adoringly of course, and the like – but that isn’t the point. What puzzles me most is how they always find the same spot – mid-train, front of the car on the local-side doors – perhaps they get on at the first stop, wherever that might be. I find myself always trying for the same spot, against the door as he has conquered… but almost always never get there. I dread the subway when I get stuck in the middle and have to reach up for the railing – inevitably having to mess up my “unaware” stance to allow my wrist to brace myself, while watching people sitting below me, half-asleep, necks tucked inwards to their chest like dozing pigeons.

My most favorite moments are when people miraculously “re-appear” on the street, when I had seen them walking six blocks away in the opposite direction. This almost always happens when you catch yourself staring for a bit too long at someone’s hacky-sack hat or bright blue pleather pants. Moreover, they always – in one way or another – are in front or me, or passing me. I thought at one point I was a quick walker, but either the stoplights are in their favor or I’ve lost pace.

What I have found pleasantly amusing is the expressions on people’s faces who are moving around me, and what on earth they might be thinking with their face scrunched, brow furrowed or mouth gaping. Some look like they are conducting an orchestra playing a Beethoven’s symphony, and I wonder, if they eventually soften once their destination has relieved them of their commuter strife. I give them a short story as I try to look as placid and comfortable as I can without appearing too blank… or more importantly narcissistic… when staring at my hair or shoes in the windows of the subway. I walk deliberately but daintily in and out of trains, through turnstiles and past taxis.

Lately, it is the mornings in New York that seems the most real for me, fresh and invigorated.