Walk down into the subway, pay a small fee, and the city can be yours. If the city is big enough, and the subway thorough enough, there’s no better way to get around. No other mode of transportation can bestow the access and the sense of accomplishment. Getting in a cab can get you most places, but there’s more chance of getting stuck in bad traffic in a busy city than there is of having a problem on the train. And walking is wonderful, but can’t take as far as you’d often like to go.
I realized this as I took the subway in Japan last Friday night over to the Tokyo Dome to see the Giants play. The ride was simple and short. Only one transfer and less than twenty minutes. But bounding up the steps of the Korakuen station and onto the exterior concourse of the Dome, I felt so happy. And in there was a little pride I think, too. I almost let a little, “I did it,” escape, but I stopped it at the top of my throat.
At first I was embarrassed to be proud of such a simple thing as a subway ride. But I’ve always had trouble confronting tasks with which I have no experience and no guide. I started thinking more and more about what it means. The access, the freedom, the speed.
And just like that, the city was mine.