Turnstiles

The PATH train arrives at its 33rd Street stop. The doors slide open. People slither out. Treading up the crowded platform, we are made to pass through stainless-steel turnstiles. I hate touching skin to steel, preferring to push the mechanism over with the forward motion of my legs. Almost as though the turnstiles aren't there.

But I can't truly ignore them. Today, as I passed, I thought the obvious: "Like a herd of cattle." Immediately after, I thought the slightly-less-obvious: "Like grains of sand through a sieve."

And finally out into the muggy, muggy air.

During my fifteen-minute walk from the PATH station to our office, I noticed awful smells, chemical smells. And maneuvered carefully around many construction workers. In their hardhats and workboots, they carry steel pipes and operate enormous and powerful machines. It seems I should be in uniform, too. Just for the walk. Where is my hardhat? Where are my workboots? I should, it seems, be wearing a blue polyester cover-all with my name stitched to my chest.

And up the slowly sloping Madison Avenue, with, for no sure reason, thoughts of the Upper East Side explosion in my mind.

Outside our building, I was surprised to find a large crew of polyester cover-alls crouched around our revolving doors. Inside the lobby, turnstiles were being set in place.

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