The Morning Commute

It’s Monday, 9:43 AM when I reach street level, emerging from the 6 train on the corner of Bleecker and Lafayette. It’s been over an hour and a half since I stumbled out of bed, but my brain still isn’t alert to the fact that I’m 13 minutes late for work. Or maybe I just don’t care. The fun-sized Michael Clarke Duncan lookalike at the top of the stairwell grabs a newspaper from his red smock and thrusts it into my gut. Instantly, I’m annoyed. Where was he 25 minutes ago when I would’ve gladly accepted a fun game of “see how many typos I can spot” to keep me awake on my morning commute?

The site of Pinche Taqueria reassures me that despite my mind functioning like mashed potatoes at this hour, I haven’t suffered brain damage overnight because I’m still able to do simple math. Only three short hours until lunch. I love lunch. I wake up in the morning thinking about lunch, and sometimes I go to bed fantasizing about overstuffed burritos, dripping with guacamole and sour cream.

Next to Pinche, a few people anxiously huddle around the walk-up window at Bite waiting for their steaming cups of adrenaline. I make eye contact with a tall, lanky hipster guy wearing black skinny jeans, thick-rimmed glasses, and a leather jacket, clearly showing off a feminine figure that most vapid New York girls would kill for. Since when did men become so non-manly? The trash can next to him is already half full (is that still optimistic when you’re talking about trash?) and there’s a river of milky brown coffee flowing from it. I’m surprised that some overworked, underpaid New Yorker isn’t on the ground slurping up this liquid gold in an effort to make it through another day.

The systematic, endless line of taxis swerve their way up Lafayette Street, seeming completely oblivious to any pedestrians who don’t have their arm outstretched. Us New Yorkers dash across the intersection between blurs of yellow, but the tourists stay back and wait for the reassuring walk signal.

The smell of gourmet french fries (yes that’s a thing, welcome to New York) pumps out of the Noho Star, making me wonder what kind of first-class breakfast they serve in there. The place mystifies me with its backwards sign and distinctive tinted windows framed with white lines, but I’m too cheap to go in for a meal. I pass by and see the stools still flipped upside down inside of the Bleecker Street Bar next door. Again I find myself doing math, only eight hours until happy hour.

Crossing the uneven cobblestone bricks on Crosby Street makes me glad that I’m not a high heels kind of girl. But the concrete renovation I’m forced to detour around is the last thing to add to my Monday morning blues. Until I step inside the office.