A Pictorial Travelogue
of a Fatigued Wanderer
Commuting freezes time the same way traveling can extend it. But while the starring at fast moving surroundings can hold the anticipation of wherever one’s about to get to, destination is not really the point of commuting, just getting there and coming back.
So you update your reading, or most likely fall asleep. Traveling short distances repeatedly has a numbing effect on the mind. But whether time’s wasted, or enhanced, commuting may offer you a whole lot of things but won’t give you the option to abbreviate it.
It’s a way of cutting through a million life stories happening outside your window, that you can’t or won’t care to attend, either because most last just a few seconds, or are simply not that interesting. Commuting is a lesson on indifference about the world around us.
Yet, a lot of us spend an obscene amount of time committed to it, squeezed into it, indifferent to it, day in, day out, going back and forth, in a Sisyphean task we come back to repeat as often as required, till that blissful day we’ll simply stop doing it. Oh, what a joy that’ll be.
Being on a set schedule also breeds an odd wish from deep inside that still sleepy mind of yours: that nothing ever happens to it. You’d rather not talk, hate if someone sits close and, knock on wood, dread the possibility a maniac lurks on the loose, or a faulty track lays ahead.
So you move to this secret limbo, the kind that combines the alertness of a ninja with the moroseness of an angry monk, ready to spring into (more)
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* Street Smarts
action and protect that treasured telephone, but more likely eager to be left alone in a vegetative state. Either way, don’t fall asleep too hard.
For seasons may change, and steaming days will be followed by sleet and wet snow; your mood will be uplifting at one stop and downright murderous the next; even the irrelevant landscape outside may have suffered serious transformations, all while you’re counting the stations and gathering your things.
If you’re lucky to be awake, you’ll hear the voice announcing your port of call, and warning you not to step into the gap between the train and the platform’s edge. That’s right, you’ve arrived, and this time, you’re on time. But something is bound to be left behind.
It’ll take you another day to chase it back, once you’re done and just wish you could materialize at home, in an instant, no tickets exchanged, no crowds ready to crush you.
Short of that, your commuting will leave only fading memories you’ll be hard pressed to keep. Go and take a break, now. Tomorrow, it’ll be all over again.
(*) Originally published on Dec. 13, 2013.