Walking Cross-Town. With Time Lapse.

Photographs, Yes… Love ’em.

Time lapse photography, not so much. Haunting. The clouds zipping by, dragging me along, hands desperately clutching the relentless spinning flywheel of Time, all slipping from my grasp.

This same morning walk to train. This same Metro North train. This same commute. This same cross-town walk.

Always black shoes. Always dark socks. Always conservative neck tie. Always black coat. Always black brief case.

That overhead drone, its dark eye, rotating, whirring, peering downward, tracking my steps. My progress.

13 years ago, it was the first train, always the first train, the 5:07 am to Grand Central. DK and the Traders. I take the aisle seat for quick ejection. I graze through the morning papers, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times. Eyes active, skimming, inhaling pages, hungry.  I shift to the pile up of late afternoon and overnight emails. Respond to the Team – they begin to roll out of bed, checking their smartphones. DK’s emails flashing, flashing, flashing...Unread. Years of the same Strategy, pull them along in my wind tunnel. He’s up, he’s moving, and they’ll follow along, or….they won’t.

Train arrives at Grand Central. I’m up, and Ready, standing in the vestibule. The hiss of the doors, and I’m off. Accelerating down the tunnels. Passing other Suits. Pulse up, heart racing, I make the turn in the tunnel and approach the escalators to the exit: Escalators are for pu**ies. I take the stairs. 75 of them, straight up.  Fearless, I gobble them up two at a time, brushing by walkers on the right. Get to the top, breathless, I jog to catch the open door onto the street, catching the Walk sign, 5, 4, 3….

I’ve figured out the pace, the precise cadence to catch the next cross street Walk sign.  Foot steps brisk, moving.  Brief case swings in right hand, there are re-grips but the smooth, cowhide leather never leaves the firm grip of the right hand.

Eyes are locked on next street, the next cross walk, the next Walk sign. The mind, in parallel, rifling through the morning calendar.  The office, ETA of 12 minutes, if I hit that street and that street and that street, just right. 

And more often than not, I would hit it just right.

13 years ago, and now, This Week.

It’s no longer the first train.  It could be the third, the fourth, or Jesus, a late morning train.

I find an empty seat, now the inside seat. I read one paper. Shift to skimming blog posts.  Move to one or two chapters of Fiction. Skim emails, but leave them for when I get to the office.

Train arrives at Grand Central. I finish up my reading, wait for the car to empty. I twist in my ear buds, find James Taylor, Say Who is this Walking Man?  The Walking Man Walks. The Walking Man Walks By. Would he have wings to fly?

Today, the sun beams, warming. Hand up to shield my eyes.  Glaucoma in your 50s was his call, from the eye injury ~30 years ago.   I shift my case to the left hand, and then back and forth three other times on the walk to the office, case bursting with gadgets.

It’s a 17 minute walk. The later morning commuters are an altogether different crowd. A splash of tourists. Gulls hang glide overhead. Sparrows peck at popcorn kernels outside the theatre.  A homeless man, cup out, asking for change. A car horn. Mother pushing child in stroller. Shopkeepers opening up, hosing down the sidewalks. A delivery truck rushes by, blowing around the thinning strands of hair still left on my head, hand reaching up to tamp them down.

I wait at the next cross walk.

And wait again at the next.

And the next.

We’re in deceleration mode here, with cadence way Off.

We’re on Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier:

In their [low] fifties. The years are rolling out like tide now.

 


Photo: Julie Peiffer La Femme Rousse, 2015 (via poppins-me)

Comments

  1. This is so good, David. Really good. Reads like poetry. And I am left wondering what has happened in those 13 years, from an ETA of 12 minutes to 17, that changed things. What was lost or gained in that 5 minute gap?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes and wait and wait…wonderful words David and I also appreciate the gritty photo ☺️ compose a wonderful day ~ smiles Hedy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    “This same morning walk to train. This same Metro North train. This same commute. This same cross-town walk. Always black shoes. Always dark socks. Always conservative neck tie. Always black coat. Always black briefcase. That overhead drone, its dark eye, rotating, whirring, peering downward, tracking my steps. My progress.”

    … it’s a daily routine! Can we keep it during these times?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So, everything slows down as we age… use the slower walk to look at all the things you passed by, but never saw. Maybe a few topics for future blog posts.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. You took me there. I could see it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. law of the universe. slowing the pace is a natural part of life. excellent post, dk.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Fantastic writing, incredibly personal but universal at the same time. What I find most engaging, David, is your ability to express pace so impeccably.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ambivalence has become my definition for aging. Women make jokes about turning 60, sort of uncertain as they came up with a solution. 16 not 61 or 26th Birthday next year, not 62. If that’s the solution, come August I’ll be celebrating my 6th and I remember the big
    deal that was made, a dress with a pretty collar and a circle of chairs under the wisteria dripping tree. Aging to me is the acceptance of less excitement and the embrace of wellness…the retrospect of coming a long way, remembering the fancy birthday dress and not that the party was set up under the tree where my daddy lingered in his car to drink bourbon. Thank you for prompting this thought!
    Happy Sunday! Be well where you are.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. this is a wonderful read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Louise!

      Liked by 1 person

      • So…. on the subject of always black shoes… always….

        Yesterday, when getting dressed to take Beaumont to the park, I decided to ‘do something different.’ I stood on my right leg and put my left leg into my snow pants first and then the right and repeated with my boots (it’s -21Celsius out there with a snow dump). I was practicing balance and rewiring my brain to let go of my routine of ‘always’ the right shoe first then left.

        I committed to doing it differently every day.

        Ha!

        This morning, I totally forgot about ‘different’ and did it my same old way.

        Changing routines is challenging. Challenging ourselves to do it differently is harder. 🙂

        Congratulations on shaking it up!

        Liked by 2 people

  10. There’s a typo there. [Low] 50s?
    I don’t think so!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wait another 10 years and it will take you an hour to get there – if you find it! LOL!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. So glad you’re learning to slow down somewhat, DK. The first part of this account had me all stressed just reading about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. OK, first I thought ‘great reading’ – get to know this guy a bit better, always better, bit by bit.
    Then I wondered, what is ETA – checked that, done….
    But then I just felt more and more sorry for you Dave. So attached to your gadgets, to your ‘all black – no other colour is allowed’ clothes, to your own endless pushing your ETAs and other stuff. Who the heck cares how long you take to get to the office, how are those ‘underdogs’ swearing at you for fireing off tons of mails while they are still brushing their teeth, etc.
    And finally, OK, he (that’s you!) just MIGHT get it – that there are indeed other goals to attain than just functionning at a breakneck speed at all times….. You really, really need a dog to get you to slow down, just a bit, at the time, then some more – look at the daisies opening up and closing their beautiful little heads in the evening…. live a bit more!
    Terribly sorry to rain on your parade. I only wish you’d be a bit less quick to function and employ what you so eloquently post each day – even though your writing is wonderful!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. A great piece reflecting reality and the slowing down of age and priorities. When you are house bound, will you get a dog? I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You know these are my favourite posts of yours. You claim to not have the skill of a writer – I beg to differ. Your writing is fabulous.
    And five minutes longer is a puny step forward… here’s to adding another five, then another five and then… you get the picture, of course.
    You will need to slow down before you retire so you don’t go into shock over all that free time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. In this current climate, A perfect post. To pause, and to see life from many different perspectives. Great writing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You have served your time well, dear pal – with each hyperactive step. Take your time, the only thing that is rushing by is time.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The only constant is change. Now we begin to grok the veracity of this truism. Be well. 🌈🌍💕

    Liked by 1 person

  19. wonderful post, David. I can feel the 13 years going by, and the changes those years have brought. Two questions: do you still take the stairs, and has your team adapted to the “New” David?

    Liked by 1 person

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