Background noise of a voice coming over the subway train’s voice/loud speaker. One more noise among the chatters: the co-worker or boss maligners, the cell phone users, etc. You really have to listen beyond the roar of the train on the tracks to the only cheery conductor’s “good morning. Welcome to the A-train. Wake up! Women, put on your make-up and comb your hair. Men, pull up your pants and tie your shoes. Take your husband, your wife, your children, umbrella, chicken boxes, etc., with you! All your belongings!” You can imagine his sexy, male voice emanating from under his feathered fedora and zoot suit as he smiles that flashing smile and swings his watch fob.
Who hasn’t seen someone breaking the subway rules on any given day? Whether it’s spitting, eating chicken and fries, playing loud music with or without headphones, talking and/or cussing out loud, feeding children, doing someone’s hair, etc.
At the end of your ride, as you get half way up the escalator to the outside, you notice some animated object dancing across the moving metal steps. Like a bouncing ball, the wadded brown paper object bounces up and down. Unlike a bouncing ball, there is no particular direction. The crumpled sphere moves more at the whim of lift than gravity.
There are many forces manipulating the paper– by now opened into the brown paper towel. The impact of its bounces forces it open where lift can get into its folds, and it takes off into flight. The right wind could carry it away from the subway grounds. But, between the upward movement of the escalator steps, the rushing air from an arriving train, wind that may be blowing above ground, and passengers who may kick it without even noticing, gravity pulls it down every now and then. The paper bird appears to energetically dance across the moving stair in all directions under the power of some invisible puppeteer.
[This story was written by Rosa L. Griffin, a Baltimore native writer who loves Baltimore, and wouldn’t live anywhere else!]