About a month ago, I wrote about seeing a young lady in the 14th Street subway tunnel between the L and the 1-2-3, who wore a t-shirt with a fashionistia/fascist slogan: THOSE WHO SACRIFICE BEAUTY FOR EFFICIENCY GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.. Her outfit and aggressive manner of zipping through the corridor made me think she was part of some secret, fabulous paramilitary organization.
However, I’d completely forgotten about her until this morning. I was in the same tunnel, beginning my walk from one train to the other, when I was passed on left by a girl much like the one I saw not too long ago: in workout clothes, on her way to or from the gym, hair done up in a neat, tight ponytail. Completely, disgustingly toned and tanned and young and extremely aware of this fact. I’m not sure it wasn’t the same girl. A millisecond later, I was passed on the right by a nearly identical girl, also in gym gear. They converged in front of me, linked arms, and forged ahead with speed and determination. Other pedestrians parted for them without even seeing them; others could just feel them approach from behind and gave way in fear.
I searched my memory to try and think if I’d ever seen something like this before. There are, of course, those infuriating times when you’re stuck behind a group of slow-walking people strolling in tandem. But I couldn’t recall ever seeing two people actually link up like this, and for the purposes of going faster.
I couldn’t think about this for more than a few seconds before I had the sensation of someone trying to pass me again. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another girl to my right. Down in the tunnel, people are always passing one another, trying to get out in front of the slow, the slightly slow, and the just not fast enough. It’s the law of the jungle down there–pass or be passed.
My first inclination was similar to that I get when driving and someone wants to pass me: I feel vaguely insulted and want to speed up. (The operative words being “want to”; my car’s ability to speed up is severely limited.) But before I could even think about doing so, the girl was past me. Once she was past me, I saw that she not only in gym clothes, but she too had linked arms with another girl.
The two sped up ferociously and caught up to the first pair, filing behind them, like ranks in a military parade. Together, they dashed through the tunnel with brutal efficiency. In no more than 10 seconds, they were completely out of sight.
I was totally joking before about there being a silent army of La Femme Nikitas. But guys? Now I’m a little scared.