Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Train things

People have curious habits on the train. I like to sit in one of those sets of four seats facing one another, with the wall on my right, facing in the direction the train goes, ideally with room to stretch, although I'd just settle for the first. Others seem to shun these seats that face one another, and prefer the boxed-in variety. They make me feel claustrophobic just looking at them.

This morning, sitting on one of the only available seats in a crowded train, I noticed a woman get on, and give the seat next to me a swift brushing off with her fingers, several times, before sitting down. I'm pretty sure the seat didn't have any dirt on it. Was she just brushing off the imaginary dirt?

The night before, I had seen, a few seats over - again on one of the sets of four facing seats - a woman, in pink, facing away from the direction the train was travelling in. Opposite her were two MX papers and a chip wrapper. When someone on the seat in front of her got up and left, she stood up and walked over to that seat and sat down, now facing in the direction the train was going. This - rather than picking up the chip packet and MX papers! I found that rather strange.

Then again, I have changed seats several times on the one train journey, in order to get a slightly more optimum seat. Sometimes, I have changed seats just to get a nicer view (and wouldn't you?)

A girl fainted on the train this morning. This has happened before; a hot crowded train can do that to you, especially if you're tired and dehydrated. Well, what with everyone the train moving back to give her room, and several people moving forward to help, and the train driver coming to meet her and assure her staff would be there to meet her at Flinders Street, and almost everyone staring at her for the rest of the trip, I was feeling quite sorry for her. I'm sure she got her water at Flinders - but is there a cure for chronic embarrassment?

Last night, on the train from work to Spencer Street station (where I changed over), I was also rather impressed by Spiffing Spanish Guy. He stood at the door I was planning to get off, resplendent in yellow lycra and sunglasses, balancing a bike in one hand, and holding a mobile in the other while he spoke in rapid Spanish to someone on the other end. As the train rattled and clunked and he rolled his rrrrs and intoned his intonations, something seemed to happen, and quite suddenly, he began saying, over and over again: "Hallo? Hallo? Sophia. Hallo? Sophia. Sophia. Hallo?" However, as the train pulled into Spencer Street, the reception seemed to clear up, and somehow - not sure how he did this - he managed to open the door, balance the bike, and keep the phone to his ear at the one time, and, still talking continuously to his Sophia, carried the bike up the escalator in front of me. He even got on the same train as me, and sat up the back with his bike and his phone, talking for the next half hour until we pulled into Lalor station. Spiffing work, Spiffing Spanish guy.


Anonymous said...

I must say I have a morbid fear of picking up papers left on train seats lest they be covering a large pile of vomit. Your Spanish guy sounds like he could get a role in a film by Almodovar...

TimT said...

Hey you're right! I wonder what Sophia was saying to him? Reality is sorely in need of captions like in the movies.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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