Only the brave cry on public transportation. Dear girl on the 1 Train, let your tears fall and wipe away any sense of humiliation you might feel. Because we all cry and we all feel, and at this moment I feel for you.
My friend, Princess, told me about this exercise she was doing. She was pretending to be homeless in the subway to see how people would react, if they would help her after seeing her suffering (without shoes, ripped clothes in the middle of winter) and who would ignore her. At first, I thought she was crazy! Pretending to be homeless for a social experiment? Then, I thought about how interesting it would be to witness it. So, I decided to follow her one of the nights she did it.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had a pretty good laugh so far. I’ve never spend a night on the streets wondering where my next meal is going to come from. But, thousands of others do. I often forget this. We live in such a chaotic and fast passed city that it’s hard to notice things and even people. New York City is one of the only places in the world, where you see a man passed out on the floor and you think it’s completely normal. You see this human at, possibly, the lowest point of their life and you just carry on with your day. It’s really crazy when you actually think about it, but most of us don’t like to.
I’m one of those people who are constantly on the phone, especially if I see a homeless person coming my way. I always felt if I stayed far enough from them, what happened to them, wouldn’t happen to me. As if ignoring them is going to make them disappear. People like me are the ones Princess wanted to teach.
My Friend, Melissa, also came along for the ride (you’ll see her in the video answering some of the questions). She writes poetry and has an ongoing series of poems about the people she sees on the train. I thought her poetry (specially the subway poems) really complemented this video.