What is it about train travel that both relaxes me and unsettles me ?Crammed in a carriage full of people you dont know, sharing a common experience and yet retaining a separate experience as well. I mean it is just not natural is it?
She got on at Bayswater with the phone to her right ear. Loudly exclaiming the previous night’s exploits and working through the Karma Sutra from positions one to twelve. Her alleged well endowed partner proudly discussed, as if comparing the last run over 1800 metres at Caufield. My eyes lifted up from the paper.
Sizing her up to be about eighteen years old (hell what would I know), probably TAFE student (out of uniform, surf brand book bag, no books), cheap phone, cheap clothes and a Britney Spears wannabe midrift, I shuddered to think what would be said next.
A boy beside her hardly fourteen, was eating every word that slid from her lips. I could almost hear the cogs in his brain clicking and whirring as he filed this scene away for regurgitating at recess to his lacklustre mates.
An older lady sat opposite, clearly distressed with the stream of adjectives spilling on the floor. Clenching and unclenching her knees, disturbed or indeed reminded of a distant past, she wanted no part of this scene.
I searched for the girl’s eyes whilst she languidly stared out the window. Stopping momentarily for breath, her eyes then swept the carriage and locked with mine. Clearly this was sport for her. She had an audience that could not escape, always the best audience I might add. I resisted any response, keeping po faced and passive whilst she droned on.
Box Hill approached with a low roar and she got out.
I was probably right about TAFE, probably right about her having three kids at 28 years old whilst her partner stacked shelves in a supermarket at night trying to cover the second hand parts for his 91 Commodore.
The carriage seemed to shrink a bit as equilibrium returned. Granny went into her bag for the Women’s Weekly and boy picked up his bag and nursed it (I wonder why ?)
Me ? I returned to the paper.
people watching is a past time of mine.