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Happy 6-year Subwayiversary, Rachel!

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 09/27/2012

Six years ago today, a I sat down on the One Train, coming home from work late as usual, and sat across from a beautiful woman, and made sure I got her number. Six years later, and we’re married and have got a wonderful little daughter together, and it’s hard to imagine a time before Rachel. Here’s a tiny slice of the story, and a public thank-you to her for being so awesome.

I was barely a New Yorker back then, and when I moved here from Philly, I determined that I wouldn’t live more than a 5-block radius from work. Back in Philly, I did the reverse-commute out to the ‘burbs, driving through both city and King of Prussia traffic to get out to the boondocks. I was determined to wholly eliminate the commute, and how the frustration and lost time cut into my happiness.

Well, after my first 2-year NY-apartment lease was up, I realized that short walk to the office was keeping me from assimilating as a real New Yorker, so I tagged along with Adam Edwards on HIS apartment shopping—the same guy who happened to be the reason I was in NYC in the first place, and on that trip, we found a small high-ceiling’d studio apartment on the Upper West Side. So, I moved from 16th St to 107th St.

And so, I forced myself to get to know the subway—or at least that single One Train route. Well, at least it was a start—oh, and what a fateful move that was. Had conditions been at all different at many tiny moments leading up, I would have never been on that train, never sat across from her, never embarked on this wonderful life. Taking that one train continued a trend of taking back the reigns of my own life, having been whipped around by fate just a little too long. And you know what? I really enjoyed the train-commute. It was not stressful at all. As it turns out, not having to drive and sit in traffic makes all the difference.

It is on that commute that I saw Rachel for the first time, sitting across from me and making noticeable eye contact back to me when I looked her way. Now, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with NYC, but not breaking eye contact after a just a micro-second on the subway is punishable by death. There’s just too many people crammed on these things every day just going about their lives for there to be “moments”, and everyone lacks the guts anyway to do anything if there were. There are even anti-flirting laws in NYC. Well that didn’t stop me.

So, here was that magical moment—one of those moments you’d be kicking yourself for the rest of your life if you didn’t do anything. So, I signed/asked to her: “Do you got a pen?” She nodded yes, and I took it and wrote “Can I have your number?” on one of my business cards. She looked at the card and just wrote: “Jewish?” I nodded yes, and was like, come on, I’m a Levin. It turns out, she had known Levin’s who weren’t.

This anecdote and more I got to know about her, because I called her later that very same night—interrupting a date, I’m told. We met the following Saturday in Washington Square Park, and it has been a whirlwind of wonderful times ever since. We eloped to take the make the soon-to-follow ceremonial wedding at the Staten Island Zoo a guaranteed success.

And that pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? Two people who know what makes them happy, not getting caught up in the pomp and circumstance that stresses-out and empties the savings of so many, yet knitting a memory that was described by people who were there as the most fun and memorable wedding they’ve ever been to in their life. I guess you call it marching to the beat of our own drum, but it is just such a fun, perfect rhythm. I now couldn’t imagine life without Rachel.

I’ve learned as much about myself over these six years as I have Rachel. I’m more aware of my Jewish roots. I now understand the “American dream” as the one-of-many choices in life that it is. Public school is a baby-sitting factory that exacerbates many of society’s woes. And if you want to stack the odds in your favor in life and for your kid, stay in NYC and take advantage of the world’s-best of everything—much of which all happens to be right around here. The magnet and charter schools, if you can make it into the one that suits your nature, is just one of the many examples.

And finally, in the nature vs. nurture debate, I’ve bought more into the “nurture” side of the argument, and she gave some ground on the “nature” side. This is because we see both sides of the equation playing out before our eyes—the raising of a totally delightful child who seems to be well-predisposed down to the core. She can almost count to 10, roughly draw a person, and recognize nearly every letter of the alphabet. She’s a total little naturalist, mimicking animals with their real sounds—and not the contrived Hee Haw’s or bahhhhh’s, but rather good approximations of their actual noises! She’ll be two in six weeks. There’s just too much of what’s going on there to attribute heavily to nature or nurture alone.

Thank-you Rachel for these amazing six years. Thank you for all the great times, and improving who I am as a person. Thank you for being supportive during the rough patches, and thank you for pursuing your own interests in life, and all that comes with that. There is no more important choice in life than who you are going to spend the rest of your life with, and I am reminded every day what a great choice I made. You’re the best!