We took the twins on their first trip on the subway last week. We needed to go into Manhattan for a doctor’s appointment. Luckily, D and I were both going, because I still haven’t figured out how I could take them on the subway alone. We each put one twin in a moby (D) or ergo (me).
The appointment was near Columbus Circle at 8 am. We’d need to leave about an hour to get there. At rush hour trains can be packed so full you don’t need to hold the pole because you sway together with the other standing passengers squeezed against you as one tight people mass. We crossed our fingers that, leaving a bit before 7, we would just miss the rush. There was the option of a cab, but all the way uptown would be expensive and seemed unnecessary.
The first train wasn’t too crowded. A young man got up and offered his seat. At 36th Street we stood there waiting as the platform slowly filled with people and no train came, conscious that every minute that passed brought us closer to the 9 am rush. Luckily, we didn’t encounter one of those cattle car commuter trains, just ones uncomfortably full with people standing too close sneezing and hacking. One woman sat next to us applying her mascara, nose dripping away with no tissue. I tried to angle myself away from her.
On the way back, there must have been work happening on the tracks, because the conductor kept suddenly blowing the deafening horn, and we’d rush to put our hands over the babies ears, who made sad shocked faces each time. This in addition to the soot-blackened walls, which come to seem normal, and what looked like vomit between the seats across from us.