in the summer of 2001, a group of activists (mostly radical cheerleaders) learned a dance, and performed it on the trains of new york city. we called ourselves the boxcutters (almost immediately, emailing each other on september 11th, knowing our name would be changed and forever feeling somewhat sick when hearing the very word, boxcutter) because we saw ourselves as cutting through the walls new yorkers put up around themselves and getting close to the real people and uniting us. (little did we know, a different set of boxcutters weeks later would transform new yorkers into what we were hoping art would do.) we would be standing on the train, reading ads, or sitting, bored, when the music would come on (a song called "hey lover") we'd get up, start snapping, and do our dance. we would sit when the song was done and talk to the riders about what they thought of our dance. we got some interesting responses.
i have been getting sick of these walls new yorkers erect; let the love in. i'm a hippie in the big city, but in no way am i gonna start living in a tent, wearing a fleece daily and never bathing. i just have a big heart. i hate standing next to people, stone silent, staring at nothing (even if they are staring at your ear, they don't absorb it, they just focus on where they're going next)--why don't we talk? i had a great conversation with a guy reading jorge luis borges on the train, when i was reading michael ondaatje. and then some guy had a huge suitcase with hair care products in it, and we just chatted.
why not lean over to the person next to you, comment on how nice their sweater is, what book they're reading, how wonderful/sucky the weather is, how tired you are, small talk. maybe you'll make a friend, enlighten someone, learn something, or just make your commute a little more pleasant.