This weekend I was up in White Plains visiting my brother Marc, his girlfriend Jessica, and our families, and we got into a discussion about sleeping on the commute to work. My brother’s girlfriend’s sister Allison (did you follow that?) lives with them, and her and my bro commute to their jobs in the city everyday from White Plains via the Metro North. The ride from White Plains to Grand Central Station is about thirty-five minutes.
Allison: “I was driving to the train station the other day so exhausted that I couldn’t wait to make it to the train just so I could go back to sleep. I was thinking to myself, ‘stay awake!’ ‘ just make it to the train!’”
Me: “Ridiculous. I wish I could sleep on the subway in the city.”
Allison: “I was so tired, I debated sitting on the train back to White Plains and riding back to the city just to get an extra hour of sleep. I figured I’d still get in at 9:30… that’s not bad!”
Me: Stopped talking at this point. just laughing. But thinking to myself–this could never happen for me.
Once I leave my apartment it’s all over. The trains in the city on weekday morning are not quiet. They are not relaxing. It’s more like hundreds of people squeezing their butts into a subway car regardless of if there is actually room to fit their butts. And in addition, attempting to sip their coffee to wake up and look alive at work, while also reading a trashy novel because how would New Yorkers survive with one instance of nothing to do? Or worse! The men in suits who now read the news on their iPads on the train in the morning. Holding up the big flat device which if someone were to fall into them by accident would slam them in the face and possibly break a nose. Break. A. Nose.
No. Sleep on the subway commute is impossible.
Lo and behold, this morning I was proven wrong. I got on the F train heading to work, and saw this man. This man, pulling out all the stops to catch a few extra minutes of sleep before selling his soul to an 8 hour (probably more like 10 hour) workday.
I give you..
Ingredients for sleeping on a NYC subway:
- miniature travel pillow
- determination to wait until a corner seat opens up on the train, and the speed of light to haul ass and sit in it when it does before ten other grumpy, caffeine-deprived commuters seize it
- ear plugs to block out the noise from the guy next to you listening to his iPod with the kind of headphones that make everyone around him listen to it too
- an eye mask, so as to not allow yourself to peak and see everyone staring at you
- the neck pillow. specifically an inflatable one that must be blown up while waiting for the train, and aired out and packed away once arriving at work
- complete awareness that what other people think doesn’t matter, ’cause dammit I’m going to get these extra 15 minutes of sleep in!