I come up the stairs from the platform of the 42nd Street subway stop to the bowels of the Port Authority bus station and I am confronted by a highway of humanity moving in two directions at once in front of me. I feel like I am standing completely still in one of those long-exposure photographs where one thing is in focus and everything else is a blur.
I stand watching for a while, I put my hands on the railing at the top of the stairwell I just emerged from and deposit some skin cells. It occurs to me in that moment that hundreds of millions of people have deposited skin cells in the same place. I start thinking about how many people have shed skin cells in the subway and then in the Port Authority bus station. All of that humanity, all the flakes, all the DNA, melting off you in your effort to get from Point A to Point B.
I'm overwhelmed by the thought and the possibility as my mind's eye sinks down to an atomic level and the walls seem to swim with matter. I can see every particle and I feel like I could push my hand into it like it was made from jello. It would be egotistical of me to think I am at one with the world but I am not at one with the world, I am just contributing to it, adding my cells to the millions who were here before me.
Sometimes New York does this to you. Fear loves this place and sometimes you will find it dragging you by your head and there is a startling moment of clarity when you realise that you are one single pea in a giant concrete pod filled with 12 million peas.
For some people this makes their brain explode, for me I love it.