Am really curious to know more about if the subway’s ambiance provides inspiration? You seem to suggest that the environment allows you to ‘zone out’ with headphones, etc…which is antithetical to my mass transit experiences.
Personally, and using the MTA/NYC as a guide, there is so much going on, they are macrocosms of such fecundity that oft times, headphones or not they have provided me with both inspirations, be that poems, backstories, characters, etc… that it has been a dream, and a labor of love, to write a collection of stories specifically for or to the Subway System itself.
So my curiosity is piqued as to whether all this activity is somehow blocked out while you write, and if so, that is a very wonderful talent to have. Of course the banality of taking the same route everyday can have that meditative effect, and getting into that zen state of mind for creativity, like waxing on & off, seems easy enough.
How to block out all that humanity. NYC is filled with a lot of characters however and they can or do make a compelling case, sometimes through impromptu dance offs, panhandlers who are at carnival barker levels, etc… so blocking them out can be difficult, even with headphones.