Today’s Daily Prompt asks: “Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?”
My answer is, it all comes down to context. For example, the New York City subway system is not a magical place, not by a country mile. This was something that I had to learn PDQ when I moved to Jersey City and then Astoria. When I got there in the summer of 1999, it was scorching hot. This meant that waiting for the subway while job hunting meant sitting inside what was essentially a giant convection oven. This didn’t help things. But even as the temperatures started to lower, things didn’t change much. More than a few people waiting for their train were either commuting from the outer part of the outer boroughs, Long Island, New Jersey, Westchester County, and even Connecticut to Manhattan and using the subway get to their (often stressful) jobs or going back home the same way with their tired, sweaty, and not infrequently inebriated fellow commuters. In short, most people were a little wired in the a.m and a little fried in the p.m. This was not conducive to friendly conversation. I learned this hard way when I, partially Midwestern person that I am, tried to strike up the odd conversation to pass the time. I learned quickly that when you tried to do this people thought that you were either 1.) running a scam, 2.) crazy, or 3.) both. And so, I adapted and just put on my headphones with my portable cd player and stared ahead. I also started standing a bit towards the back of the platform as the fear of some nutjob pushing my pale hindquarters onto the tracks took hold. Granted, this was a one in a million chance, but fear trumps actuarial tables.
On the other hand, one of my best friends met his wife during a layover in O’Hare airport. So, again, it all depends on context.