I’ve seen her, wheeling her child in the caverns of my home town, going shopping, going to the doctor, who knows.
She was Latina, or maybe Asian, or dark-skinned from the States or Haiti or Africa, or white, but I have seen her, trying to navigate the stairways of hell-on-earth, our subway system.
Every so often, I stop and hold out my arm and gesture: I’ll take the front end.
I mean, what else are we men for, but to lug and lift and load?
They see a grandfather type, offering to help, and they make the decision that I mean no mischief, and they nod in assent, and we improvise a step-by-step ballet on the murderous stairs.
(Update: my friend James Barron in the NYT has reported that the medical examiner can find no major trauma from a fall, so the cause of death may be medical reasons. But as Barron points out, the dialogue continues about the brutal conditions in the subways, under Albany and City Hall. All I can say is, lend a hand once in a while.)
(Recently, at my old stop, 179th St. in Queens, I carried two shopping bags up the stairs, to a bus stop, which gave me the opportunity to drop a few words of Spanish on the lady – “muy pesadas,” very heavy – which got me a smile that lit up my afternoon. No medals; I only do it once in a while, when I have time, and am of a mood.)
They are up against it, these mothers with their infants, these abuelas with their groceries, and most of the time they have no alternative. The subways are primitive, and falling apart, despite the elected public officials who posture and prance but put critical offices in a building in the terrorists’ playbook, who ignore climate warnings and put fancy new stations to collect the coming floods, but ignore the infrastructure and the lack of elevators for those who need them.
The Times says: “Only about a quarter of the subway system’s 472 stations have elevators, and the ones that exist are often out of order.”
Malaysia Goodson, 22, was living in Stamford, Conn., but had come back to the city of her childhood on some errand. Somehow, she tumbled down a flight of stairs while maneuvering a stroller holding her 1-year-old. The daughter is reported to be all right but her mother died.
I’ll try to remember her next time I am in the subway.
For Malaysia Goodson: Ravel’s “Pavane for a Dead Princess:”
1/30/2019 12:22:51 pm
Bad stuff happens every day in a metropolitan area of 15 million. Sometimes one story jumps out at you and sticks. This is one of them. Heartbreaking. Thanks for writing this so quickly.
1/30/2019 03:56:45 pm
Marty: Absolutely right. I ride the subway once a week, or so, and can only guess at the realities people are facing. (I've done more than a few subway pieces in recent years, sometimes, clicking off a quick photo.) This poor young woman has so many counterparts....GV
1/30/2019 12:27:23 pm
1/30/2019 03:59:58 pm
Mendel, that only leads to what will be seen as a partisan or biased or callous response from me: what if the framework is dominated by an individual who does not appear to be capable of normal, human empathy? Then it appears that those who are distressed by this disturbing void are the ones without empathy. GV
1/31/2019 02:00:30 am
A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just a little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody.
1/31/2019 06:54:29 am
1/31/2019 07:14:07 am
A rare treat, two lovel GV columns in one day, here and in NYT on Jackie.
1/31/2019 11:45:34 am
Thanks to good friends for your comments.
2/1/2019 02:48:14 pm
I just realized that the earlier comments on George's piece on Jackie Robinson, didn't include the link. Here you go: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/sports/baseball-jackie-robinson-integration.html Do check it out. It's very fine.
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.