Friday, August 31, 2012

Why Riding The Subway Is Important (and: MUPPETS!)

I draw on the subway pretty much every day. Fairly often people ask me about it, mostly how I keep my hand steady and my usual answer is “It’s no big deal. If you have control off the train, there’s really no difference.” I still mostly think that, but one thing that (I think) might make it a little bit easier for me is that I have always had a very, very light touch, i.e. I don’t use the pressure of the pencil on the paper to keep me steady, essentially I’m drawing in air. So, I guess it’s all my hand. The subway is such a great place to work or read, I find it really depressing to see people playing solitaire or something on their phones.

There is absolutely no question in my mind that the subway is one of the things that makes New York City great. Everyone rides the subway, we live our private lives in public and we learn tolerance. We have to. On my list of possible income generating schemes is a fun class for tourists and people who are new to the city. Lessons will include things like "How To Walk Down The Sidewalk Without Making Everyone Hate You" and "There Are No Such Thing As Dress Shorts, We Are Not At the Club", and of course, "How To Ride The Subway".

And then I realize it will never, ever work. Because people who spend their lives in their large homes, in their cars, in their offices, nearly always eating at home, nearly always in private spaces just don't understand. They don't know how to be private in public, and they don't understand when people aren't "friendly", it's not rudeness, it's because they are being private. Lots of tourists simply don't know the rules, and they're difficult to learn, as they ones of affect and nuance. The main problem is they have little awareness of the space around them, and that's the toughest thing to teach. Some lady hit me in the face with her New York Times while turning the page the other day, and to be honest, this is why tabloids were invented. Sidenote: They taught us how to properly fold the NY Times so we could read it on the train without bugging people in elementary school. It's one of the two or three most useful things I learned in school

Back to drawing. If you want to draw, draw. If you want to draw well, draw a lot. And I like disposable technical (.5mm) pencils. That's all I really have.

EDIT: I had to include this because it's very, very important!