Whenever I take public transportation in a foreign city, I am tense, over alert, concerned not only that I will miss my stop, but that I’m on the wrong train, and unaccustomed to the local train riding customs of personal space and boarding/disembarking (Exhibit A: Chicago El to Wrigley. I still think I may be engaged to the man who was standing so close behind me. Exhibit B: Seattle’s central link from Sea-Tac, outside of which I stood helplessly until a bored hipster pressed the button to open the door).
However, at home, I am a seamless creature of the underground, so in tune with the local map of intersecting lines that they run like veins in my body. Even when on my way to a new destination, the route is second nature, and the trains’ stops and starts, the millisecond pauses between door slams and departures, are as familiar as my own heartbeat.