Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Transit Strike Joys and Toys

There were many memorable moments yesterday, Day One of the great New York City transit strike of 2005.

There was my dismay when my alarm radio came on in the morning and the first words I heard were "transit strike." There was my consternation at realizing that, shit, I really do live far from anywhere I need to be on a daily basis. There was the spirit of novelty and adventure that infused the idea of the trek I had no choice but to make to get to work. There was the bonding feeling of urban solidarity as I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in a dense flow of human bodies, all of us unified in that same inevitable task of dealing. There was even a little moment of exaltation, as I looked toward the lofty Manhattan skyline glimmering in the frigid winter sun against a sky of cloudless blue, engulfed in the personal soundtrack my earphones were piping into my ears, a little filmic moment of transport.

And then there was the moment when I finally got to work, unwrapped, unbundled, unpacked, and took out of my bag the source of my exalting soundtrack, and watched the expressions of horror on the faces of my co-workers, all looking at me as though I'd shown up wearing stirrup pants or something. So, what? So I still listen to a Sony Walkman. So it's a little bigger than those iPods, maybe, like, ten times bigger and bulkier, but so what? It has a radio. Does your nano-bullshit thing have a radio? It's resistant to falls--and to water. How about that? It's got matching yellow headphones. It was cool in the early '90s, OKAY???

A paralyzing transit strike, and that's all they can focus on--my Sony Walkman. Herewith, please take a moment remember that relic of urban cool, the Walkman.


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