My birthday is coming up. Pardon me if this week is melancholic. It’s just my mood at the moment.
With some of my very first memories taking place in Seoul (I only moved to the States in the first grade), I have a lot of good feelings tied to its subway. My grandfather would take me by the hand and visit the aquarium, or the city park, or maybe some pop-up market that would offer some of the best street food that I’ve ever had. (You haven’t lived until you’ve munched on a Pikachu-shaped tonkatsu served on a stick, possibly with a side cup of oden broth.)
Even after I moved away, those memories continue to influence my life. To this day, I have an unreasonably steadfast love for the New York subway, with all its faults and breakdowns and delays and smells of piss and stench. There’s something comforting about the clickety-clack, the thrum-thrumming beat of the third rail as it provides power to a positively gargantuan network of switches, signals and bogeys that, in turn, help bring an entire megalopolis to life. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? How we’re so unaware of a massive, fragile ecosystem of gears and parts that propel us toward our eventual destinations?
The lyrics to Rainbow Note’s Line 1 belie that kind of thinking. “To where are we driving towards?” the song asks. “Trapped together on a set of rails without end, is this really the world that we dreamed of in our imaginations?”
“All these people, in the same time, in the same space, with the same faces... where are we traveling towards, really?”
If only we knew.