During a recent subway ride, I noticed a lone cookie on the floor in front of me. Being oddly intrigued, I snapped this photo:
Why on earth would anyone be intrigued by the presence of a solitary baked good on mass transit? I can’t say really. Except that in the time I’ve been using public transportation I’ve seen plenty of food remnants hogging the seats and floors. Greasy fast food bags. Sticky cups that once held sugary beverages. The broken shells of sunflower seeds or peanuts. Styrofoam containers complete with mangled and stained plastic-ware. And candy wrappers of infinite variety.
Considering all the “no food” signs on the subway, you’d think people didn’t know how to read.
But the point here is that I’ve rarely seen food intact on public transportation. It’s not like I’m sitting down next to whole sandwiches and pizza slices. If anything, the most one might see are the molding crusts, and maybe a stray piece of lettuce. And that’s because people eat and drink whatever foodstuffs they happen to have with them. No one simply and accidentally leaves such important fodder behind. And true, this cookie before me was only just one cookie, but I couldn’t help but wonder how it got there. It was recently Girl Scout cookie season here, so I imagine that was the source of the cookie. But did it fall out of a box or bag? Was there a fight over cookies between young children and this was one of the casualties? Did someone deliberately leave a random cookie on a random spot on the floor thinking that it might inspire some random person to randomly blog about it? Hmmm…
I’ve been using public transportation for nearly fifteen years now. In 2002, I sold my car prior to grad school because we were moving to the San Francisco Bay area, which was ripe with mass transit. All the places I needed to go were quite accessible without needing a car. Plus, it would have been a hassle to move two cars from the middle of Alabama to the somewhat northern coast of California. It didn’t take long for me to both love, love, love, and hate, hate, hate public transportation generally. When the trains and buses and trollies worked, they really worked. And when they didn’t, it was pure hell. No in-betweens with public transportation, and that’s something you just learn to live with.
After grad school another lengthy move brought us back to the East Coast. Still just a one-car family, I relied heavily on using public transit to get to work. It was, and remains, convenient. We’ve lived in several spots across the Delaware Valley, and each one was within some distance of some sort of people-moving vehicles. From some places I only had to walk a few blocks to reach a station or stop. From others, it was a lengthy but not horrific trek. Now, we drive into the city where we work, and I take the subway to my final destination. It’s convenient. The love, love, love, and hate, hate, hate is still there though. I’m lucky that my subway is one that has a pretty good track record (haha) of not breaking down. Plus, it runs mostly underground, so it’s usually good to go during bad weather. And though we’re in the suburbs, I actually have a couple other transit options in the area should the drive plus the subway ride not be feasible for whatever reason. It’s good to have options.
Speaking of which, I do know how to drive, so that’s another option. But, several years back, when we got a new car, I actually had to re-learn how to drive it after not having done so for quite some time. I’m good with getting around, but I remain a little nervous of highway driving. That’s a little funny to me after all these years. And maybe a little sad.
Perhaps I need a cookie. But not that cookie on the subway. It probably got swept up when the car was cleaned. And I’m pretty sure that they get cleaned every now and then, otherwise we’d probably be swimming in a sea of cookies. And though that sounds really awesome in theory, I bet it’s a little rough in practice.
Funny how the mind wanders while you’re sitting on a crowded subway car wondering what that smell is and wishing against hope that the guy next to you will quit manspreading and thinking you’re going to crush the next obnoxious-sounding cell phone that rings, along with its owner. But, then you remember that you’re on public transportation, y’know. It’s convenient.