Seen last week:
* Monday morning train; everyone is still in benevolent mode of past Sunday. polite avoidance of touching, seats are taken over by Asians catching on sleep, no newspaper or backpack in your face, no pole-dancing teenagers: peace and quiet. eye registers a movement: a nice looking guy of 30+, middle height, hair longer than usual, clean clothes, backpack, iphone. some kind of nervous disorder. he jerks his head, elbows the air, attempts to read something on the ceiling, his expressive face is in constant movement. everyone averts their eyes. I look back at him in about three stops: no sudden starts, no uncontrollable grimaces: he’s reading a book. so it is true “it’s all in the head”…or, rather, in redirecting attention: from self to outside.
* Tuesday, going back home. For some reason – coming holiday? kinda early for that – we are packed in this express like sardines in a tin. Sweaty, tired sardines. There is no space to stretch a muscle or move a bag from one hand to another. And then a Chinese guy 2 people from me tries to open his oversized suitcase and fish out something. No, nobody said a word.
* Wednesday, I am 15min late to my Express train transfer, the space next to doors is packed. people on platform stop trying and wait for the next train. at the last second someone pushes at my and neighbor’s backs, forcing us almost fall onto others – right on time for doors to close behind him. it is too tight for me to turn to look at him; all I see is a piece of a starched white-shirt sleeve. Silent tolerance is not enough for him; he demands communication. “You gotta share! The space is for all! The air is for all! Is that a D as in “David? Or an N, a Nancy? Talk to me ppl, is that a N or a D? Can anyone speak English here?” I open my mouth and say, still without turning:” “It is a D as in Dumbass. Is my accent legible enough for you?” 2-3 passengers around me laugh and …a miracle: the bully subsided!
* Thursday, best day of the week. Not only I am 10 min earlier, the trains are civilized and half-empty. A guy who sat next to me (workman hands, Spanish newspaper) gave up his seat to a pregnant woman. on the other side black kid dosed off music blaring off out of his headphones, but he is fast asleep, his reader falls on the floor; I can see the title on top of the page: Sophocles.