The Subway trains here are atrociously loud. In fact, they’re basically as loud as a jet taking off. Don’t believe me? Read this Guardian article about it.
Each time a train rolls in, I cover my ears like a total wimp. But considering they actually cause hearing loss, I’m not even ashamed to say that.
Even when a train isn’t rolling in, it’s still loud. Musicians trying to make it are playing their hearts out, people are screaming about who knows what, others are begging for money or a free swipe or a hot meal.
It’s never quiet.
Except this one time.
I got off at the Union Square station, as did a whole crowd of other people. I wasn’t wearing headphones, because, you know, Missed Moments. But weirdly, it seemed as if everyone else was. We were all headed up the same staircase. And no one was talking. No one was screaming. No one was singing. No one was doing anything but listening to their music in their own little worlds and shuffling up the stairs.
I looked around, convinced that someone else had to have noticed how painfully quiet it was. To test my theory, I purposefully hit my water bottle against the stair railings. No one even flinched. No one heard me.
It was so quiet a pin could drop, and I was the only one who knew it.
Shocked, I turned around and walked back down the stairs. As I started going back up, I saw a woman looking around, with one headphone out. Realizing it was quiet, she took the other out and started looking around more. She made eye contact with another guy, who proceeded to take his other headphone out and assess the situation.
Together, they realized it was quiet.
A smile cracked their faces and they silently nodded, put their headphones back in, and continued going opposite ways up or down the stairs.
Is that not beautiful?!?!?!
I mean, what is this??!?! Can you believe how many hundreds of people missed all of this?!
They missed a quiet moment in the city. They missed two people connecting over this shared peacefulness.
They missed the moment.
Are we that busy, that stressed, that overwhelmed, that uncomfortable with our own thoughts that we need background music just to walk up the Subway stairs?
Maybe this city isn’t loud and fast-paced. Maybe people just don’t stop and listen to the quiet.