Musings on life, the universe and an elephant named Flobo


Thursday afternoon, and the promise of the weekend is in the air. Thursday is the magical day when one can still be fully productive at work, yet feel the relaxation starting to creep in with that magical word whispered around the office, “Friday”.

The atmosphere on the train today was rather relaxed. 80 percent of people were interacting with smartphones or tablets, some were just staring out the window. It is amazing how much the average commute has changed with technology. It is now rare to see newspapers read on the train, especially since mX is no longer handed out free at Central Station. Either way, people watching is still certainly in peak form and I shall share with you some of the choice observations from todays journey.

Although it is frowned upon to eat or drink on trains (okay, we say frowned upon but you are likely to get a fine if the inspectors are in a bad mood – which given that most people at least have a drink with them is pretty average), it amazes me how you can never go a journey without at least 5 people per carriage, assuming a moderately full carriage, needing a drink or a snack. Today, a woman was trying to hold a coffee between her thighs while using her phone. The pained expression on her face, enough to indicate that the keep cup was doing nothing to stop the heat transferring through to the most sensitive of areas. It must have gotten too much for her and she was forced to put down her phone, grab the keep cup in one hand and fan her crotch with the other. Hopefully, cooling relief was provided.

I have also noticed, especially amongst the students that travel through the city stations, that the afternoon snacking options have been upgraded. In my day, wow that makes me sound old, students would usually stop off after school for Macca’s or KFC and casually consume the oily, over processed goodness before getting home to either scoff down dinner or, if the meal provider wasn’t the best of cooks, say that they had eaten whatever they made in Home Ec class and were not really hungry. Now, the smells of Japanese curries, Mexican and Noodle Box waft through the carriages making all stomachs growl in response. It is enough to make anyone re-think the dinner plans if they are going home to a salad or something in the bland yet quick and easy range of culinary options.

Speaking of food, it is with a strange sense of wonderment that I regularly observe a couple on the train. Usually over a 2 week period, I will see this couple on average 3 times. I use the word “couple” since I am sure they are dating, although I am also quite certain that they are work colleagues and catching moments together when they can. He has a wedding band on which he fidgets with absent-mindedly while attempting to gaze at his companion yet not make it obvious to the entire carriage. She, bats her eyelids and occasionally talks about her boyfriend, before jumping back into the topic of work.

It took me a little while to figure out, what I assume, was happening between these two. I do not judge. It is up to each one of us how we choose to live our lives. I do not know either of their circumstances. Having been divorced myself, I know that marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be. Although, being engaged, I also understand the importance it has for some people, us romantics.

To the quiet observer in a busy carriage, it is possible to notice some of the little moments between these two people. I do not know if they are in love. I wouldn’t presume to know anyone elses heart, yet a big part of me hopes that they are. Life seems neater when love is the answer, although love and emotions are not neat and tidy. Thoughts and feelings are messy. The one thing that sticks out to illustrate the messiness of relationships, I really can’t make myself think of this action as cute, is the almost impossible to catch kiss that these two exchange each day while on the train. I have only witnessed the moment once, yet I know it happens each time they are on the train for the undeniable evidence that one of them will get on chewing casually on gum and by the termination of the trip, the gum is firmly in the mouth of the other. I do not know why I find this disturbing. After all, having a good kiss certainly exchanges enough bacteria laden saliva. Perhaps it is the fact that they are so elusive. Waiting until there is a commotion with people trying to disembark while those trying to board are impatient, a loud phone conversation from a teenager to draw attention away or a dark tunnel and dimmed lights to hide the exchange. Either way, it frustrates me when I cannot see this exchange take place. A small group of fellow people watchers are also aware of this phenomena and we take turns, when seated together, keeping a casual look out for the crucial moment or providing a running tally amongst ourselves to see who has captured the most of this private moment.

On trains, like in a fish bowl, your life is open for viewing.


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