They can be smelly, noisy, frightening, dangerous – to the point of being traps where thugs prey upon the hapless or a Bernie Goetz incongruously becomes hero, victim, vigilant, and villain rolled up into one. They can be crowded and unfriendly, where sexual fantasies find unexpected play in the pack of rush hour. They can be lonely and forbidding. Or, in newer manifestations, they can be squeaky clean and efficient to the point of sterility. Much of the same, however, can also be said of the sea, where so many people head for vacation adventures.

At the moment, an electrical fire is hitting a midtown train. Many will be injured, and traffic delayed for hours. It goes with the territory.

Unlike a monorail, this journey requires at least two continuous rails. For instance, innocence runs beside sophistication. Eros parallels Thanatos, as do passionate loving and death. There are Yin and Yang, light and dark, good and bad, man and woman, sun and moon, land and sea, earth and air. Add a third rail, the power of the subconscious, and you embark on the world’s greatest epics.


For more from my THIRD RAIL collection, click here.


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