I came home after a long day, festooned with groceries. The bench on the subway platform was occupied by two girls and their shopping. I said, “Excuse me,” in German, and they said, “Excuse me,” in German, and cleared a space. Then one turned to the other and said, in flawless Brooklyn Privilege, “So I’m like, ‘the person who cooks’ in the relationship, but one time? Eli was like, ‘let’s make spaghetti together.'”
At the station where I climbed out two men were playing a complex and delicate classical duet on two squeezeboxes. I passed a man in my street who was carrying a double bass upright on his back. Its long neck sticking straight up behind the face made him twice as tall. I’d been noticing the rows of inverted and upright Vs of manspreading and women’s frequent shrinking in public spaces on the train, and I thought: sometimes privilege is visible; and sometimes, it is audible; sometimes it hoards itself, and sometimes it emanates.