At a kind of center
Dashing across Broadway to the corner of Fulton, late for work, and thinking about my next blog post–an off-shoot of “Lord Help Us!”, about the Tea Party’s doubts in man-made climate change.
One major distinction between Tea Party types and students of science and history is their view of Man’s place (especially the place of American Man) in the whole big scheme of things.
Swing past the thick green posts at the top of the train entrance, the heavy iron scrollwork now muted by a zillion and one paint jobs; to my left, a T-Mobile (I think) store, petals of yellow ad flash in the darkly reflective glass.
Tea Partiers, pattering down the stairs, especially those who identify themselves as Christians (with a capital “C”), believe that Man (particularly American Man) is made in God’s image, the apple (only not the apple) of His eye. As a result, creation revolves around Man; the Earth is at his disposal.
By American Man, I also mean Woman. I grimace in frustration as I slow for one carrying a baby carriage. (I usually do offer to help women with carriages but this one is already mid-stairs, and taking up the whole stairs too–no way will I get past her.)
Few serious students of science or history can truly believe this. Scientists tend to be conscious of the fact that the Universe (and even the Earth) have had a long life span that didn’t include Man in a starring role, and also that it’s possible for Man to write him/herself out of the future script. Serious historians, for their part, cannot truly believe that all of human history has been one big build-up to Sarah Palin.
I chuckle inside, feeling suddenly energized by snarkiness. But now I see with absolute certainty, even though just from the corner of my eye, the dull sliding silver of the train. Still moving, meaning it’s pulling in, but there’s that baby carriage and mother, and now an older lady too, and it’s a narrow entrance, but there are three turnstiles–THREE!–the rectangular lights of the train windows slow–
If all of the Earth is supposed to be FOR man, how can we wreck it, thinks the Tea Party–
I really don’t want to be rude, but oh come on–train doors opening–I jog to the left of the baby carriage, the mother, the older lady in black wool coat, slightly bent, carrying a bag, Christ–got to get around that too–determined not to discombobulate them,veering to the farthest turnstile that I never use–what did someone say the other day?–that that turnstile didn’t work, no, that the closer one didn’t work? Random notes of random sentences depress the fervor of my Metrocard slide until the green “GO” magically appears and I push the heavy slots (it’s one of those floor to ceiling turnstiles), galloping towards the bright rectangular squares at the end of the dim concrete–
Ohnoohnoohdamn. On hands, ouch, knees, face burning–I really should never wear a scarf–this purse–did I break anything? The older bent lady in the black coat alarmed–I try not to think about how my hands sting and what kind of germs are crawling onto them, looking up around tangle of neck–
The doors are still–open–I scramble upright, lunging stiffly, mumbling apologies to the old lady–oh no, my necklace unclasped, my lucky necklace, about to fling itself–grab it with one hand as I stumble into the white light of the car, the other holding open the door, turning back to those left behind. The mother with the carriage hasn’t yet gotten through the turnstile, the old lady at the far edge of the platform–
“No no.” She shakes her head with a smile. I can’t tell if she’s wise, or heading for a whole different line.
I let go of the door, reclasp my necklace, resettle my scarf, wipe my hands on my pants, then don’t wipe my hands, then–ah–sit down, pretending that no one is looking at me.
Head in the clouds, theories, egocentric snarkiness, leads to–scraped knees, stinging hands, I bend down over my notebook.
Wait–that’s my stop! Already??!!!
(Isn’t the “here and now” part of what science is all about?)
Hurry hurry hurry out the door.