A Morning

I snooze the alarm clock on my BlackBerry one more time knowing that I’ve just sacrificed five more minutes of shower time. With the comfort of knowing I took care of that yesterday, I go back to sleep for the precious few minutes I can. The claxon call of my alarm blares again, signaling me it really is time to get up.

After wasting a few more minutes trolling the net for the latest news I bound downstairs, grind up some coffee and start the pot then go back upstairs to get ready. I evaluate the need to shave on a day-to-day basis, but despite today’s self-imposed delays I hurriedly scrape the stubble away and rinse off my face as the coffee maker downstairs gurgles and sputters, marking the end of the brew cycle.

As I quickly enjoy my morning elixir, I evaluate my wardrobe options. Though my preferred style is a well-worn t-shirt and a trusty pair of jeans, work requires a certain level of class, so I opt for gray skinny pants, a black button-up and a red tie. At this point I usually realize I should have left five minutes ago, so I throw my things in bag and slam the rest of my coffee before finally heading out the door.

My usual morning path takes me past two laundromats and our bodega where I wave to Frank–the owner of Magic Laundry Service. I promise (and desperately need) to drop in soon and continue past the Irish potato famine cemetery before I reach 21st Street. Turning and walking towards Astoria Boulevard I look for an approaching bus. I see a Q100 and thank the MTA gods as I reach the bus stop and wait for the bus to pull up. With a second stroke of luck I manage to nab a seat and casually observe the passengers around me.

The bus ride is quick as we move past automotive repair shops, local diners and some warehouses, arriving at the 21st Street-Queensbridge station. This is one of the more “interesting” parts of the neighborhood. With the projects directly adjacent to the subway entrance, there are loads of entertaining people on the street corner every morning. Sometimes it’s just a lone daily newspaper salesman, but often there are loads of folding tables selling old paperback books and used magazines. On the other side of 21st Street lies a fried chicken joint and a “99c or more” store, both of which are frequent sites across NYC.

Descending into the subway station, I hear the rushing displacement of air and screech of metal on metal as the train approaches. I quickly swipe my MetroCard, clank through the turnstile and take the escalator steps two at time before squeezing between the closing doors of the subway car. Though the passengers around me are not pleased about my forced entry into cramped quarters, the angry people who didn’t get in are nothing but blurred faces as the train speeds into the darkness.

Following 20 minutes of rocking side to side the subway finally reaches 47th-50th Street, Rockefeller Center. I walk down the platform to the exit stairs and swerve through the flowing mass of people trying to reach various trains. As I come up the stairs, the sun shines down 47th Street casting severe shadows on the walls of a manmade cavern. Walking down the street toward Times Square, gasoline, roasted almonds and heavily perfumed ladies assault my nose. Approaching the threshold of 47th Street and 7th Avenue sounds of roaring traffic and thousands of conversations swirl into a conflux of noise and disorder. Maneuvering with grace, I slip among tourists and street vendors making my way past the TKTS booth, across Broadway and to the relative quiet of West 47th Street.

Again, realizing my delays, I power-walk past bankers, lawyers and interns making my way past the cigarette smoke of loading dock workers taking a break. With barely enough time to swing into Starbucks, I patiently wait for my drink while chatting with the baristas. Efficiency is key here, so the conversations are short, and my drink is ready before more than two minutes go by. I buzz into the stage door of The Friedman, laugh at the sassy greeting of Eleanor, the security guard, and open the door to the box office. With the morning commute behind me, I turn and face the window to welcome whatever encounters the city has in store for me today.

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~ by Geoffrey on 22 March 2011.

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