One of my favorite things from London is the tube. There. I said it. There is no epic line preceding it. It is just a fact.
You see, my school is located in Northfield, Minnesota, which is a cute little town, but there is not much going on. I also do not have a car, so it is very difficult to get anywhere besides the local Target.
To move from that to a city that is connected by the underground has been majestic. It is very different from the New York underground, there are no artists on the tube, but there are artists in some stations. These are artists that have auditioned to have a space for their act and they pay taxes for said space (fun fact). These are wonderful performances, soulful voices, and joyful people overall. I do not even know how to put this into words, but my heart jitters with happiness when I see how art thrives in this society. It makes me hopeful.
Anyway, going back to the efficiency component of it. First of all, the student residence where I live is five minutes away from the tube. FIVE MINUTES! I am a person who tries to be early (sometimes this intention fails), but do you understand how convenient it is to a person who sometimes has to rush out the door to live five minutes away from the tube station!? Very convenient, heaven if you will.
So, the tube is great yes. But when it is bad, it is very bad. It is like London collapses for a day. I have had days where I have waited ten minutes (which okay, first world problem, but hear me out), when I usually wait for two minutes. The waiting time is not what I dislike, but the crowd is. The trend that I have noticed is that when the waiting times are longer than usual, the carts are full. And not full, but overflowing with people. It is like the whole population of Costa Rica is all in the underground. I do not know about you, but post-covid Paulina does not appreciate small spaces with tons of people, especially if the place is hot as hell. No, thank you. But once again, first world problem.
Despite, the shared sweat and the collective human smells, you get to see so many faces. It is the most accurate representation of diversity. You get a slice of the world, at the comfort of a couch seat for 30 minutes. No need to travel (internationally) at all!
You know what is another interesting fact about the tube? Nobody speaks. Not a single word is heard, unless it is a couple of friends or family seating next to each other. It is difficult to speak due to the noise! But every now and then I am taken out of my own reality when a local person speaks to me. The other day my friend and I were speaking about our theater classes and the woman sitting next to me laughed. Next scene was us three chit-chatting and giggling. A lovely experience!
P.S. One of these pictures have three female-presenting individuals doing their makeup. Can you spot them?
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Paulina Morera Quesada
My name is Paulina, I am a artist from Costa Rica. I attend St. Olaf College, where I study Inclusivity in the Performing Arts. My life mission is to create inclusive spaces for people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals in the performing arts.