Living in a small town makes me appreciate riding a subway in a big city.
A walk down Main Street in my hometown usually results in a random encounter with an acquaintance. Normally that is a welcome occasion; generally speaking, I enjoy meeting someone I know. Kind of like a surprise party, but without all the wrapping between you and the present.
This almost never happens on the subway. In the big city you trade in familiar faces for complete anonymity. And it is liberating. There is no one else there to remind you of who you were, so who you are is up to you. And sometimes that is just what you need. A break from the past just long enough to let you live in the moment. Sitting on a platform in Queens, after a full night of drinking and a half night of sleep; that is when an early morning flock of pigeons can be heard between trains. And your soul takes flight with them. You have no one to answer to, and no one to listen to. A rare chance to listen to the sound of your own wings flapping in the stillness and unencumbered backdrop of a city of millions completely unconcerned with where you are going or where you have been, but still willing to offer good directions if you decide to move from where you are.