I am a zombie.
I don’t speak or make eye contact – just swipe my card and shuffle in.
Trying to navigate around swarms of people, I feel like a riverboat captain. But, as you know, zombies are clumsy and make poor riverboat captains.
I bump into my fellow commuters and they bump into me. No one wastes time with apologies.
I make it to the gate just in time to catch the express. Pushed by a force greater than ourselves, we cram into the car, which must expand because there’s no way this many people can fit. Everyone looks relieved when the closing doors block the floods of people.
I try not to breathe too much because my mouth is near someone’s head and that would be creepy. My arm gets tired from holding the handrail made for giants as we breeze through the local stations. Someone’s headphones blare out Jay Z’s “99 Problems” in the otherwise silent car and we all pretend not to notice.
“This is Grand Central – 42nd Street,” the announcer says. I mentally and physically prepare myself to fight my way to the door. My momentum propels me through the station and I emerge into sunlight.
Passing newsstands and coffee shops, I’m confronted by the smell of smoke and a chorus of car horns. Everyone is in a hurry.
Somehow I make it to my building and into the elevator. Up three floors and the doors open. The Reader’s Digest Association sign welcomes me and I begin to relax.
I walk into the quiet office where my supervisor Fran is already at work.
“Good morning, Katie,” he says in a way that makes me smile. “How are you?”
His genuine interest is a trait I’ve noticed in all of the Reader’s Digest staff. They actually care about us; they want us to learn, explore and grow. At Reader’s Digest, I feel like a valued member of a team, someone whose opinion is wanted and appreciated.
I am human again.
I am human again.
By Katie Macdonald, Louisiana State University, Reader's Digest
Edited by Kristin Canning, Wartburg College, SELF