Here I am, completely placing my faith on mass transportation to dump me approximately an hour and a half north in one piece, right into the Big Apple. A city that I have navigated at least a hundred times before. A city full of seemingly possessed cabbies complete with a touch screen GPS for our viewing pleasure. A city where you can get a massage where they whack you in the back with branches from a birch tree, takes in an over priced burlesque show and visit a Bedouin coffeehouse for a cup of the strongest java ever and a pipe full of fruity flavored Hookah all in the same night. You just cannot get this kind of action in the suburbs.
My cochlear implant just can't get this kind of stimulation in the suburbs either. New York is complete with never-ending supply of auditory stimulation from the hustle and bustle of eight million people with an influx of lord knows how many more. After two hours of being encapsulated in the good graces of the NJ Transit bus, they finally unleashed the fury of passengers in Port Authority of New York. I have been here before. The familiar smell of carbon dioxide and rotten eggs infiltrated my nostrils. I took a deep breath and sighed as I thought, "Ahh, good old New York hasn't changed it scent one bit." I hopped down the stairs, hugging the right side of the rail as I skillfully navigated myself towards the subway entrance. One needs skillful navigation to find the damn subway entrance but since I have graced just about every subway line from the 1 to the 7, the A to the G and all the others in between, I consider myself an intermediary expert in the art of understanding subway paths.
After swiping my MetroCard through the subway turnstile, I make my way through the underground sauna to catch the R train heading downtown. As I started my sweaty descent down the stairs to the subway platform, the irony of perfect timing brought a smile to my face as the R train comes rolling in with the hundreds of passengers beginning their evening commute home. I clutched my purse closely to my side and then with one swift step, I entered through the double doors of the train and scouted for an empty seat. With no such luck, I grabbed a hold the nearest pole and prepared my footing for jerky acceleration to the next stop.
Amidst the slight chatter, stench of massive BO and the metal rattling over every rail, I heard
"34th Street - Herald Square, Next stop - 28th Street"
I'm standing there perplexed,did I really just hear that?I turnaround to this young Asian girl when they started announcing the stops. She replies, "No speakie English." I apologized for bothering her. Then out of the corner of my eye, I felt this intense chemistry towards a very attractive, clean shaven man with piercing blue eyes in a grey suit with a pale blue shirt. I love a man in a suit. I figured what the hey, I tapped his shoulder and smiled coyly as I asked him when they started announcing the stops. He smiled revealing the most beautiful smile and chiseled jaw line. I decided I was in love right then and there. I had to ask him to repeat himself, not because I couldn't hear him but I was so smitten with him. He spoke with the most beautiful voice that I have ever heard, deep, smooth, and dreamy. He said, "They always have." Those three little words are forever etched in my memory. I managed to utter a thank you. My mind is running a thousand clever conversational icebreakers, and every single one of them was hindered by my timidness. He got off at the next stop. I watched my future husband walked away only to be embraced by the arms of another man in a suit.Figures, he's gay.
After I recovered from the heartbreak of my minute long unilateral love affair, I realized how astounded I was to be hearing all the stops being called out. I have never heard them! It answered so many questions of how my friends knew well ahead of time when to get off. I have cochlear implant moments every single day, but this moment was truly gratifying.
I get off Rectory Place and head towards Ground Zero to say a little prayer in memory of those that lost their lives on 9-11. After that, I walked back up towards Broadway with a little help from Google Maps application on my Blackberry Curve, I finally arrived at my destination ─ an hour and a half late. I rushed up the elevator and walked into the room. There was lovelyTina Childressstanding there smiling. She asked me whether I was okay. I said, "I'm fine." I was more then fine. I was on a high about hearing the subway conductor announce the stops. There is something about the element of surprise that can really take you aback when you discover that you can hear something ─ that has always been there but not for you.