Monday, November 6, 2017


Most subway riders know there’s a 3-inch gap between where a car door meets the platform. We pay it no mind. But to me, it’s a chasm, 44 miles wide, 100 deep. It’s where the tip of one of my crutches slipped through today. I tumbled to the dirty concrete platform and had to be lifted to my feet by strangers.

The mean old streets of New York are mean enough. The last thing you need is to be is "disabled". Having been struck down in the street by a speeding biker recently, resulting in a broken foot resulting in surgery, I’ve learned the hard way what it’s like to brave the big bad city, one foot forward.

I usually take the subway ride to work in the morning, arriving in roughly 25 minutes. This all has changed. First, a walk to the station, which used to take about 10 minutes (this has stretched to twice that time).  Each step, or swing, requires three times the energy, so by the time I arrive at the station, I find myself already damp with sweat.

When I enter the station, this is when the real fun begins. In a typical commuter morning, people pile on the trains, eyes either facing forward, or ears crazy-glued to their smart phones; the routine has become so burned in the collective DNA that any deviation is met with utter shock. As I try to adjust myself so I can board a car against a wave of retreating commuters, no one bothers to allow any leeway. Often rushing feet threaten to kick my crutches underneath me. Very few acknowledge my predicament and at worst, nearly send me reeling to the platform with no apology.
Once arriving to my stop, I set about the task of trying to locate an elevator or escalator. I pull out my trusty app – and lo & behold, no such luck. This means hopping up, step by step, to the street. Yes – sometimes some generous fellow commuter may offer to lend a hand, and I deeply appreciate it, but at this juncture I’m on my own.

Once I see the light of day again, I get enveloped by the wave of the crowd, inevitably traveling in the opposite direction, again completely oblivious to my plight. I bob to and fro, as if on skis - trying to be avoided being sideswiped to the sidewalk, until finally after squeezing through the revolving doors, mercilessly pushed from behind and thrust into my office lobby, exhausted and dripping with perspiration.
And so my day begins.

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