This is the beginning of an extended project. Every week I will publish a chapter of what could be called a memoir or maybe a travelogue. I know for sure there will be at least three chapters, as I have three in stages vaguely resembling completion, join me for my subway ride.
I think to some extent subways are to city kids what cars are to country kids. The first time I rode the subway by myself was an exhilarating moment. I had taken control of my life. I could go to the farthest edges of my big city and explore. There is a freedom in the subway token like there is freedom in a driver’s license.
For five years the subway was my only way to move. If it was too far to walk I bought tokens and meandered my way there. Sometimes, to get there, all you need is a subway, some times it takes a subway and a bus. Every once in a while I had to get to a station where a friend would drive me to our destination. With the TTC, you will get there, it could be minutes when it should be hours or hours when it should be minutes, but you will get there, eventually.
It strikes me that there are people that make us who we are and things that make us who we are. The object may be less powerful than the person but the subway overshadows so much of who I am and where I’ve been. No other form of transit has carried me more miles.
For all I’ve ragged on the TTC and how poorly managed our transit system is, I grew up on it, I moved like a teenager on it. I traveled to and from work on it. It took me to friends, it took me to loves, I found both while riding it, for better or worse. These are the stories, people, and stations where the subway took me.