Paul Ford. The man is superb.
Each time one hears, “Stand clear of the closing doors,” a tiny social experiment begins. The regular subway passengers plug in, look at screens, stare at the ground; the tourists scan the maps, crouch down to read the stop names that are blazoned across the pillars as each platform rolls by. Occasionally, their face will slacken into a distressed, wide-eyed “Oh Jesus, what-the-eff” look as their mistakenly boarded express train rolls by the intended stop. No one has seen that look of dread from the tourist since their bus driver accidentally cruised by their house in fourth grade.
Each subway car is a sealed room between rooms, an inconsequential destination—the negative space between here and there. No one is going anywhere, so these middle moments are perfect opportunities for observation. A middle school couple plays footsie while wearing the same red Converse sneakers. A mother sings something softly in Japanese as her daughter rests her head on the mother’s shoulder. An older couple stands at the end of the car with two rolling suitcases, but one is slightly undone at the top. I wonder why, then see a rabbit nose poke out of the opening. An art student opposite me is drawing the woman sitting to my right; she notices, so they enter an invisible dance where he pretends not to be sketching her while drawing, and she pretends not to notice that he’s drawing her despite knowing and wanting to catch glances of his work. Their eyes play keep-away with their glances, and I try to weave through the spaces of their cat and mouse game with my own eyes.
- <john> hey everyone - lucas' pull request [REDACTED} is kinda a big deal
- <john> i'd appreciate a look over and a +1 from everyone
- <lucas> :D
- <john> and by "i'd appreciate"
- <john> i mean go do it
- <lucas> make sure i didn't fuck it up guys ;)
They dislike their jobs, they dislike their boss, they dislike the things they must do in order to make the living that will allow them to continue disliking their life.
They don’t yell and scream and complain about it, in fact, they shuffle their way through it peacefully enough and teach their children that life is hard and painful and that they should appreciate any ounce of goodness that the universe deems them worthy of.” —80% of People Quietly Despise Their Lives | How To Split An Atom