Recent Posts

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gratitude underground...

SUMMER IS HERE!  I have the heat rash to prove it!  Though my arms look red and angry, I am so thankful for the sun that greets me when I wake up.  I love the way it beats down upon my back all day beckoning me to come out and play and then sets slowly with an explosion of purples and oranges and blues over the Toronto skyline leaving me quenched with a Vitamin D overdose.

With the arrival of summer, I don't revert as much to going underground.  So as the days get longer and my ridership on the subway starts to dwindle, I thought I would tell you why I love my city's subway.
The streetcar that takes me to the subway at Union Station.

35 minutes.  This is time it takes me to get from the Southern most point of the subway line to the rest of my family WAY up NORTH and a little EAST of me. I love how quickly I can get to them.  The faster I get there, the more time we have to spend together.  I especially love seeing my nephew Kahzmir's face in his car seat whenever he accompanies anyone to pick me up at the subway.  He's always so happy to see me and it makes me feel like a bright star!  (Am counting down the 6 weeks that need to go by before I can see him, Karim and Minaz again.)

Grown men who play video games.  Everyone has a way to get ready for the day ahead.  I like to read a few pages on my short ride to work and others prepare by playing video games.  Whether it's a Game Boy, Nintendo DS or PSP (I wouldn't really know the difference,) I find it intriguing to watch grown men warm up to their days by playing video games with such energy and commitment.  Some of them actually sweat from the sheer force and exertion of their two massive thumbs repeatedly banging against the plastic console. Wow!
MJ's "Sore Thumbs" t-shirt design.
When someone is nearing the end of a book.  I am always trying to look like I am not looking at what other people are reading on their commute.  I just finished reading Heather O'Neill's Lullabies for Little Criminals. I decided to read this book after seeing four different women reading it over two days of riding the subway to and from work.  Sometimes when I am checking out what you are reading, I will notice that you only have a few pages left to go.  If I've read the book you are reading, I almost want to follow you in the hopes that you will finish your book, exhale and then look at me.  And then I imagine asking you what you think and you talking about the book with me.  Sigh.  Don't worry my fellow Metropass owners, I am not that creepy.  This is exactly why I always need to be in a book club.  Thank goodness I have kind literate friends who indulge me every month.

People doing the crossword in pen.  I see this a lot on the subway and love it!  One day I too will muster up the discipline and brain cells to tackle the crossword in pen..and when I do, I'll be sporting a glittery red gel pen, yes I will!
The Crossword 4-Function Pen from
The ghost station.  Yup, we have a ghost station here in Toronto.  In fact, I think we might have more than one but the one called Lower Bay is what most people know about.  The station is rented out for filming and sound recording.  It has appeared in many films and is quite versatile having portrayed several American subway stations too.  It is rarely used or seen by the public but this past weekend, the subway detoured past Lower Bay.  It didn't stop there but you were able to catch a glimpse out the window.

When noise pollution is a lovely thing.  You know when someone gets on the subway car and you can hear the tinny sound of the bass from their ear buds?  The tension level on the car rises and eyes start to roll.  It doesn't actually bother me that much.  I think it's great when people rock out to whatever they like.  Last week, someone was listening to Bill Wither's Lovely Day at top volume!!  It was destiny that he walked onto MY subway car.  I listened in and was so happy for that little bit of noise pollution.
Giving up your seat for someone else.  As much as I love doing this for someone else, it's even more heartwarming to watch someone else do it.  The exchange of a few seconds of kindess between two strangers is a wonderful thing.

So to you my subway, I apologize for my upcoming inconsistency over the summer months.  

We'll be together again every day in the fall.


Claire Kiefer said...

This is so sweet! I wish I loved public transportation . . . but mostly I just think it's too crowded and smells like urine. :( But when I do ride the train, I like to check out which books people are reading as well. :)

Lisa said...

That's so cool about Lovely Day playing in your subway car! I love the title of your post "Gratitude underground" and how you bring it "above" ground, sharing your grateful perspective in such detail. I think gratitude is about the details.

My husband loves doing the crossword--that pen is pretty cool! My husband and I share an appreciation for good writing instruments!

I like how you describe someone reading the end of a book and wanting to be there to see their reaction when they finish...that's sweet and funny at the same time!

Thanks for sharing your gratitude breakdown of the subway. Gives me food for thought about examining my gratitude in even more detail, and I thank you for that, Faiza. :)

uglygirl said...

I like my train but I only have to go one stop into the city and another one stop to my workplace. Usually I catch the bus, which is only a few stops. I am lucky because public transport is free around the CBD and that includes where I live! I should walk but I get up too late.

I had to write a quick note to say that my postman came especially early this morning and he said to me (over the intercom), "Is that Elissa? It's the postie! I have a package for you! It's from Canada!!" Yes, he was that excited and it was obviously because the package was so cheerful and you had asked that it be delivered with kindness. I haven't had a good look at it (I was headed off to work) but I can't wait until I get home and tear into it! Thanks.

rachel awes said...

subway gratitude!
a great ride you've
taken us on.
i love your mention
of witnessing
someone giving
their seat
to another.
oh sweetie,
i hope your rash
heals soon...
sending love
& relief wishes
to your dear self!
always love. xo

Felicity said...

These are such wonderful observations. Something about the subway really sparks the imagination...all those strangers so close together.

Farah said...

Hi there! Looks like we share the same blog template! ;) I actually find it funny, I hope you do to. =)

By the way it's really interesting all the things you've observe on the subway.


Kimminita said...

What a lovely post and a terrific way to find new titles for books to read.

And if you want another book tip, I just finished the girl with the dragon tattoo and I loved it!

Faiza said...

@Claire Kiefer - What are you reading currently?

@Lisa - I love hearing from you and I knew you would appreciate how it felt when I heard my song on the subway. I thought of you when it happened!

@uglygirl - How fun that you got the package so quickly. I thought it might take a month to get to you! Take some pics if you can as I forgot to.

@rachel awes - My arms thank you for your good wishes. They are not as angry now but are still red and now kinda flaky. It was worth it for the Vitamin D!

@Felicity - All those strangers and all that time to people watch too!

@Farah - Great minds think alike! I love that this template is so clean and crisp.

@Kimminita- Thanks! I have heard much about that book and will look into it for sure.

Meghan said...

I actually really love taking public transit. It's so fun to people-watch! In Chicago, we usually get one or two men who sing / yell / scream to themselves. It's funny how NO ONE will ever react to them.

Faiza said...

@Meghan - People watching is terrific! You are right about the "ignoring" that goes on too. It doesn't happen as frequently here (perhaps because we have one of the most expensive base fares ever...) but it does happen.

Lisa said...

Faiza, Your song made the MISSion mix! :)
Have a lovely weekend!

Faiza said...

@Lisa - Both my songs made it! Wowee! I can't read all the comments, what songs did you suggest?

Post a Comment

It's so nice to hear from you! Hope your day is a lovely one!