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JamesOliv
May 16th, 2013, 04:13 PM
The other day I was sitting on the subway watching a depressed hipster. I didn't know his story, so I made one up. I don't usually write in this style, so I'm a bit out of my element and I was hoping to get some feedback. To be honest, I'm not sure if I like it or can't stand it. I take that inner-conflict as a good sign. Please forgive the lack of indentation, I'm doing this from my ipad.


Eric sat on the plastic seats of the One Train. It arrived, for the fourth time since he boarded, at the South Ferry Station.

BING BONG

The passengers disembarked as they headed for their lives of purpose and rushed to meet their oh-so-precious deadlines. Men in suits and women in scrubs all walked past him, presumably heading to the ferry upstairs. They were all so very busy.
But Eric stayed behind. He didnít drown out the sounds of the city with his headphones or the smells of the city with cheap cologne. By his estimations, he had traveled nearly 100 miles by train along the same stretch of track. He had seen the same stations from South Ferry to Van Cortlandt Park. He watched the delays intently and he absorbed every sight and smell along the way.
Sunlight or smog, it didnít matter. Eric watched as though he were in a world apart from the lemming people on the train. Like Pavlovís dog, they responded to that familiar chime at each stop.

BING BONG

The doors would open.

BING BONG

The doors would close.

ďStand clear of the closing doors,Ē the recorded voice would say. It was often the closest thing to a conversation he heard. Sometimes the tourists would break the silence.
ďCan I transfer to the ĎRí from this station?Ē they would ask. Eric would ignore them. If he helped, they would never learn.
ďIs it this stop for the Statue of Liberty?Ē they would ask. Eric remained silent. They probably didnít even know it was on an island.

Sometimes when the train would stop, Eric would look across the platform to the other set of tracks.

BING BONG

Maybe he could get up and run. If he leapt onto the tracks at the right moment, it would break the monotony of the whole damn process. But he never does it.
They say that New York is the city that never sleeps. But it is never fully awake, either. New York is like a person suffering from insomnia. Always teetering between consciousness and sleep, New York thrives on routine. That routine is like a carousel that Eric has grown tired of. But the reality is that he, like all of the other subway passengers, will never step off.
Theyíll drink their fancy coffee and make fun of places like Oklahoma for not being as enlightened or cultured as New York. Theyíll eat street food from countries that ceased to exist after their last civil war decades ago and wear the clothing once owned by the elderly. Old becomes vintage and strange becomes exotic.
But Eric and his friends will delight in their own enlightenment. They will bask in their self-proclaimed freedom as they walk streets under constant surveillance. They will admire the public spaces to which they feel entitled yet walk through them on egg shells fearing a fine for any of the myriad offenses which keep the public safe.
They are the elite. They are the enlightened. They can be anything they want to be or nothing at all just to be ironic. They rely on the lower rents of the outer boroughs and their parentsí health insurance plan. They are both the present and the future.

BING BONG

Yet, without realizing it, they move only when prompted. Eric looked behind the curtain. He saw the magic show for what it really was; it was just an illusion. And that depressed the hell out of him.

Bakslashjack
May 17th, 2013, 06:56 PM
First thing I noticed before even reading it was the onomonopias. However, the writing is very good, very original and infact the onomonopias work quite well with the flow.
I would change the 'One Train' part, but beyond that its really good. Keep going with it.

JamesOliv
May 18th, 2013, 02:28 AM
Thanks for the feedback.

I almost never use onomonopia. But after a particularly long subway ride, I couldn't get that chime out of my head. Naturally, my primary concern was doing something so unfamiliar to me.

Panthera Onca
May 20th, 2013, 04:43 PM
I liked it. It had a good flow and an interesting perspective on New York and the various riders of the subway.

crowdogs
May 21st, 2013, 09:08 PM
I like it, held my interest. The bit about New York thrives on routine, spot on.

For what itís worth, Iíve never found deadlines to be precious. Vexing yes, precious no.

Gargh
May 21st, 2013, 09:33 PM
The passengers disembarked as they headed for their lives of purpose and rushed to meet their oh-so-precious deadlines. Men in suits and women in scrubs all walked past him, presumably heading to the ferry upstairs. They were all so very busy.
But Eric stayed behind. He didnít drown out the sounds of the city with his headphones or the smells of the city with cheap cologne. By his estimations, he had traveled nearly 100 miles by train along the same stretch of track. He had seen the same stations from South Ferry to Van Cortlandt Park. He watched the delays intently and he absorbed every sight and smell along the way.
Sunlight or smog, it didnít matter. Eric watched as though he were in a world apart from the lemming people on the train. Like Pavlovís dog, they responded to that familiar chime at each stop.

Just a couple of unnecessary words that I'd take out here because they force a judgement that the reader should come to by themselves from your description of the circumstances.


But Eric and his friends will delight in their own enlightenment. They will bask in their self-proclaimed freedom as they walk streets under constant surveillance. They will admire the public spaces to which they feel entitled yet walk through them on egg shells fearing a fine for any of the myriad offenses which keep the public safe.
They are the elite. They are the enlightened. They can be anything they want to be or nothing at all just to be ironic. They rely on the lower rents of the outer boroughs and their parentsí health insurance plan. They are both the present and the future.

I had to go back and re-read this to be sure that 'Eric and his friends' and 'they' were one in the same. Maybe it would be clearer if it was formatted the way you intended but worth checking.

Overall I like the stream-of-consciousness feel of it, and your writing, but it seems like an introduction to a story, not the whole. Any plans to continue with Eric's story?

JamesOliv
May 21st, 2013, 09:58 PM
Thank you for the feedback. I have been trying to avoid unnecessary words.

As for continuing the story I doubt I will.

Not because there is something wrong with the story, mind you. But I only intended it as a study. Basically, I was sitting on the subway, saw a guy sitting there, and thought I would just try to write a little flash story because he looked so introspective (and depressed).

My goal this week is to do the same. I just want to look at a person, place or thing and write something just to stretch my abilities and begin playing outside of my comfort zone.

I just have to not be in an insane rush when moving between places to pull it off.

Mieksta
May 22nd, 2013, 09:44 PM
The BING BONGs helped the story go from idea to idea very well in my opinion.

Aiyooona
May 23rd, 2013, 04:21 AM
I like it. Good flow. and i love the onomonopiea