Month: May 2017

XVII. 15/05-19/05/17; folding, in and out

A few people are waiting at the end of the platform for the 5:59. Perhaps it’s the first time they’re traveling this early and they’re used to the longer trains. When the short train arrives they all rush back from the end to get in. The week’s first brief glimpse of a fold-out bicyclist: shorts, yellow water-proof jacket, a helmet mounted camera: he looked like an adventurer. Opposite me, a man wearing a red Lycra top (Gore bike wear) probes his mouth with his thumb. He resembles Michael Gove. The sides of his face are covered by the orbs of headphones. He keeps probing his mouth, using the thumb for explorations on his left side and either his index finger or his little finger for forays into the right. It’s a repelling sight. He sticks one finger all the way in, his hand twisted so that the ring on his finger is by his nose. Then he chews on his fingers. He repeatedly indulges in an impressive whipping action: in one violent movement, he launches …

XVI. 08/05-12/05/17; untied

A man with thick-frame glasses and a white beard browses his facebook feed: regional elections, oldtimer cars, misc. scenery, cat and family photos. Our information is as fragmented as the circumstances we live in. Opposite him a passenger in blue jeans, a blue sweater over a chequered shirt, wearing brightly pink, round-frame glasses. Out of character or in character? They’re temporary. He puts them away with his book before we arrive. The days trickle in to London and back out in the evening. A scarf hangs from the luggage ledge and pools onto my neighbour’s lap. He doesn’t mind. As we arrive the man in front stands up from his aisle seat and claims it. As he does so the scarf opens up, revealing itself as a generous piece of fabric. I don’t know why — perhaps the glasses, the elegant corpulence, the steady indifference — the man with the generous scarf reminds me of Umberto Eco. On the way out: a suited young man with orange-laced training shoes and a duffel bag and his red …

XV. 01/05-05/05/17; habits of haste

Approximately one-hundred travelers coalesce into the usual small pools, regularly spaced like a smeared out sequence of 1’s and 0’s. The depth of the pools varies according to habit and ad-hoc decision-making. Our habits are base-camps for exploration: if you usually walk to the “near end” of the platform (so that you will be closer to the ticket gates on arrival) then you are unlikely to move the opposite way to the far-end the next day. And our habits do, indeed, in large measure, enable even our organisms to accommodate themselves to an existence which at first seemed impossible. We have all seen an old circus performer with a weak heart accomplish acrobatic tricks which no one would believe his heart could stand. Time Regained It seems to me that on average, the position of a group is biased towards the direction of the incoming train. So I try to stand further towards the near-end to improve my starting position for the jostle into the train. I am nearly always one of the first four on-board. …