Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My bipolar days in NYC

I used to think it was just road rage.

Now I’d definitely call it “commuter rage.” I don’t have to go far, but nine times out of 10, taking the subway during rush hour makes me want to punch people in the face.

That’s an intense statement from an extremely docile Iowa girl.

It’s impossible not to get at least a little exasperated when you’re carrying over twenty magazines home for a research project, none of the healthy, empty-handed 20-somethings will give up their seats, and you fall into another sweaty being as the train lurches. Your face is greasy, your hair is limp and tangled, your blisters are oozing, and a screaming infant is destroying your eardrums.

Not all modes of transportation are so abysmal.

Soon after getting off the subway Sunday morning – and awkwardly speed-walking/jogging to catch the Staten Island Ferry to visit April’s home – I was pleasantly chugging along on the water. A cool breeze wicked the sweat off my face, and the views of the Statue of Liberty and the city skyline growing smaller behind me were beautiful. I would ride this ferry for fun – and it was free!

The Manhattan skyline from the Staten Island Ferry.

How could I go from being in a stinky underground tube one second to floating across water the next?

Eh, wouldn’t want to deviate from my trend of bipolar days in New York City.

Take my experience after arriving at April’s. We’re all planning to enjoy the pool and lay out in the sun. I, however, cannot relax. One second I’m in the pool on a float, three minutes later I’m out of the water looking through old issues of SELF to complete my research project.

I convince myself I should be relaxing, put down my work, and get back in the pool to cool off. I make it for seven minutes this time, then I’m back at it.

Earlier last week, Leah, Carlos, Stefan and I attempted to go see The Lone Ranger. One minute we’re blissfully buying huge bags of candy to stash somewhere on our bodies for the movie, the next, we’re stuck outside the subway station in a torrential downpour and realize we’re never going to make it to the movie on time. I finish off all the candy in my dorm anyway.

Even my "bad" experiences usually involve sugar and are therefore still awesome. 

Some days I’m an Energizer Bunny, running seven miles through the city. The next day, I’m in Brooklyn at Dough and I order three massive doughnuts.

Sometimes I have time to eat a leisurely lunch with the other SELF interns and hear about everyone’s love lives; other days I eat at my desk and don’t take bathroom breaks because I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I then accidentally cause a glitter explosion in the beauty closet.

Sometimes my dorm is completely empty. Five minutes pass and the common room is overflowing with the voices of a dozen ASME kids, passing around some Two-Buck Chuck. 

My life is crazy. And I really hope it only gets crazier.

I haven’t found my balance yet; I’m teetering, holding my arms out and flexing every muscle to stay standing tall. I’m figuring it out. My friends are all doing it with me and helping me along the way. I don't want to leave. 

Maybe I need the subway after all. To enjoy the ferry rides of life. 

Written by Kristin Canning, Wartburg College, SELF
Edited by Em Maier, University of Pittsburgh, Inc. 

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