Someone Left A Shrine To Mercury, The Roman God of Travelers, On A Subway Platform Because American Transit Needs All The Help It Can Get
As a pre-pandemic commuter and proud Brooklyn-based NUMTOT, I, like many of my fellow straphangers, must admit that sometimes riding public transit can feel like a Godless hellscape.
From an official Twitter page dedicated to recounting which trains are running behind schedule, which has reported eight different delays on 14 lines over the past four hours alone ...
... to nightmarish tales of finding bedbugs on the seats of Chicago's CTA, to getting stuck on the train for so long that your entire subway car devolves into a karaoke session, featuring DMX's "Party Up (Up In Here)," because yelling "Y'all gon' make me lose my mind" just hits differently after being trapped underground for two hours ...
.... public transit throughout most of the United States definitely, erm, has its issues. Yet, reader, not all hope is lost. There is apparently a God of public transit after all: Mercury, and some poor soul created a shrine in an attempt to appease his infamous ire.
Earlier this week, Twitter user @russ_owl came across a full-on altar dedicated to Mercury, the Roman God of "shopkeepers and merchants, travelers and transporters of goods, and thieves and tricksters," at the Utica Avenue A/C station in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood. Depicting what appears to be a hand-drawn portrait of the God underneath his associated symbols and the word "traveller" written in a Roman-inspired script, various, and likely exasperated, commuters have offered several items to his shrine, including dice, flowers, fake candles, a metro card, and of course, a slip of paper that seems to read "may all your trains be on time." Although admittedly skeptical, I'm truly hoping this shrine works -- we really do need a miracle at this point.
Yet this isn't the first time commuters have attempted to appease Mercury. In October 2001, artist John Woodrow Kelly created a painting depicting the God for Brooklyn's Clinton-Washington Avenue G train station, a piece he says "represents infinity, the unknown the human soul proceeds towards."
I always thought that my human soul proceeded towards work/the closest Starbucks when riding the G, but good on you for thinking big Mr. Kelly. I truly appreciate your visionary eye, which is still on display at the station to this day.
So, readers, here's to Mercury, may you bless us weary travelers -- please, we can definitely use all the help we can get right about now.