I Have Discovered A New Species Of Man
Peter Tatara - March 28, 2010
I live in New York. I work in Connecticut. This requires me waking at 5:30 AM and catching a train at 6:30, getting into the office at 8:30. I've been doing this for three years now, and while I can couch it one way or another, at the end of the (long) day, it's not fun. For three years, I've risen before the sun and hobbled my way into Grand Central. And only now, after all this time, have I come to the realization of an amazing discovery. I have discovered a new species of man.
See, when I get into Grand Central at 6:30, there are already men and women flowing out of trains from Connecticut into NYC. No big deal. Right? Wrong. I overlooked this for the longest time, but I want you to start thinking about this. If I'm getting up at 5:30, getting ready to leave at 6:30, and these people are already marching into Manhattan, when are they leaving their homes? For them to be in NYC at 6:30, they'd have to have left at 5:30 at the latest, meaning they regularly rise from their beds before 5:00 AM every single day.
When I started thinking this through, my first question was "What job requires these people to be in New York at 6:30 AM?" and I don't have an answer. There are hundreds of people filling Grand Central in the stark, black hours of the morning, and I can't fathom what the fuck they're doing there. They all associated with law firms, brokerages, or other businesses that operate on Moscow time? Can't be. I see men and women in pressed suits, rumpled suits, slutty suits, and jeans. They're clearly all going to different places. And they're doing it all far too early.
So, if it's not a job that's getting them into NYC this early, what could it be? Affairs? All night binge drinking? Both plausible, but I see the same faces day after day. If you're sneaking out to your mistress in Connecticut every night and then slipping back into your wife's bed in Manhattan before she wakes on a daily basis, as promising as Fairfield County tail may be, I can hardly imagine this model is sustainable in the long term. Again, I see the same faces again and again and again. As for binges in Stamford's world-famous all-night ultra bars, there's not enough vomit in Grand Central for this to be in serious contention. Also, I believe Stamford's bar scene shuts down at 11 PM.
Let's now introduce a second piece of evidence. I leave work at 5 PM, get on a train at 5:30 PM, and get back home at 7:30 PM. It, like the morning commute, sucks. I aim to avoid staying in the office late. When I do, I'm typically catching a train at 8 or 9 PM and not getting home until close to midnight. The first time I did this, I presumed the train would be a ghost town. Not so. The late trains are full. Full with the same kinds of people I see so very early in Grand Central. And, when I get into Grand Central, waiting to get on the even later train back to Connecticut are even more of the faces I spy in the morning.
Am I to believe there are people whose jobs require they start their work day at 6 AM and not stop until midnight? Am I to believe there are people who would say yes to this five days a week? Granted, the right application of money in high enough doses can make people do some pretty self-destructive things, but as seductive as that paycheck may be, like with nightly visits to a Connecticut mistress, it has to have an expiration date; however, the men and women I see in Grand Central at these ghastly hours are both young and old and have been doing it for years.
Neither age nor dress unifies these nocturnal commuters. No, the only thing they share is that the travel takes place either before sunrise or after sunset. And this has led me to my conclusion. I have discovered a new species of man. With no apex predators or other extreme conditions to foster further human evolution, our genes -- like us -- have grown lazy and are now starting to adapt to cubicle life. I strongly believe there is now an offshoot of the human race that has adjusted only to survive in the glow of fluorescent lights. I also believe this subset of humanity can derive all necessary nutrients from instant coffee and Cheetos snack packs. Preposterous? Not if you factor in both the Cheetos and the actual snack pack as sustenance.
I can't give an educated guess as to this new race's size or geographic range, but I'm presuming there's a breeding population, and while I've only observed them in New York City, I would imagine there are similar clans in other metropolitan areas.
This, my friends, is the dawn of a new age, and we all have the privileged opportunity to watch nature at work. Who knows what other advancements this species's genetic stew is fomenting. Perhaps we shall see opposable toes, compound eyes, or a third nipple.
Wait, wait. Compound eyes? That's just silly. In fact, upon closer inspection, I don't believe I've discovered a new human species at all. No, I've come upon something far more sinister. Look at my evidence again, and I think it's clear that I haven't encountered a new race of man. People of Earth, I have discovered the secret passageways of vampires.
Gather crosses and stakes, and meet me at Grand Central Terminal tomorrow at 6 AM.