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Kyle McMahon

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How I Learned to Relax and Enjoy the Ride

Posted: 09/30/2013 10:11 am

I was in New York City for Fashion Week a few weeks ago with Andrew, one of my closest friends. We had a great time that day checking out the fashion shows by Concept Korea and Czar by Cesar Galindo. We checked into our hotel in Brooklyn, had some dinner and rested before heading back into Manhattan for the Galindo party. As someone who is, to put it lightly, not a great flier, I typically do whatever I can do to avoid it when possible. It's about the loss of control for me. In fact, any travel that involves someone else at the wheel gives me a bit of anxiety.

In New York City, we did what any traveling millennials would do and took the subway. We had a great time at the party celebrating the success of Galindo's newest line and headed back around 3:30 a.m. I was dreading the train ride home. "We could take a cab," I contemplated saying to Andrew. I already knew his response. "No. We're not paying $80 for a cab when we can pay $2.50 for the subway." Damn you and your logic," I argue in this theoretical conversation. As we got closer to the subway, I could feel the anxiety growing inside of me. I pushed through anyway. For a moment I thought about blurting out, "Andrew, I'll pay for the cab," but I knew he wouldn't accept that either.

We got on the A train and found a seat before Andrew was knocked out. I assure you it was the oldest, ugliest, most under-repaired train in all of New York City. I am quite sure that it hadn't been inspected since the Great Depression. In fact, my (made up) expertise in disaster scenarios gave me the feeling that disaster was imminent. "Oh great, we're going to have to cross the bridge on this creaky, steel speed demon and we're going to veer right off of it to our watery graves and Andrew is sleeping."

As the train seemed to speed up, I wondered if the driver was tired. I wondered if this was his last ride of the night and he wanted to get home quickly, so he was going to unsafely speed up. I wondered why the lady across from us was wearing a diaper and eating spaghetti with her hands.

The anxiety grew with every bump and every loud metal noise. I noticed that before every stop we would pass by a blue light. I started looking for them, knowing that each one meant one stop closer to home. I wanted to wake up Andrew and say, "Andrew this thing is gonna derail over the water! We gotta get off now" -- however, I also realized how ridiculous that sounds. We got closer to the bridge and the anxiety grew worse. "I can just wake him up and we can get off here." Andrew woke up for a moment and looked at me, gave a smile and said "It'll be fine, Kyle," before falling back to sleep. He had no care in the world. He didn't care about the insanely loud noises of the subway train. He didn't care about the bridge. He didn't even care if the driver was going faster so he could get home. He simply trusted in the system. He trusted that the proper maintenance had been performed and checked. He trusted that the driver was well trained. He was OK with the fact that something might go wrong. I'd awkwardly look at him after each bump. Every once in awhile a particularly big bump would nudge him awake, he'd give me that smile and go back to sleep. That gave me so much comfort. Inside I'm freaking out with 100 percent certainty that I was going to die on that subway train -- me and Andrew and the woman in the diaper. Andrew couldn't care less.

I realized that by that point, we had already gone over the bridge. My worst fear about that situation had come and gone without a hitch. I had built all of that fear and anxiety up for nothing. I had told myself that disaster was just a squeaky wheel away and completely missed the opportunity to relax and enjoy the ride as Andrew had.

That's a lesson I won't soon forget. You can get off the train and take the long way, or you can stay on and enjoy the ride. Next time, I'll be more like Andrew.

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