That morning I caught that train in the nick of time. The whistling started, and at the last moment I was able to free my trenchcoat from clogging doors. It was busy. So busy that people were forced to stand everywhere. The heat still hung around everyone. Slightly thin scents immediately penetrated my nostrils, the fragrance of too much caffeine, the nauseating recognizable garlic, exotically compelling deodorants, and that sometimes sexy disarming aroma that smelt like after shave cologne.
Of course I was stubborn, so I squirmed my way through and looked for a place to sit. In vain. With a sigh I made my way back to the hallway where everyone was more or less kept standing together. Looking at each other but avoiding each other’s glances as much as possible. I always enjoyed that. People liked to observe, of course, which is quite logical, but as soon as the other person became aware of that moment, they look away as though it did not happen. Not even an approving look, or a nod, as if it were all right. Cheeky as I was, I always did it myself too. This always leads to something more than that fleeting and superficial contact that is normally found on the road. A smile, and sometimes even a conversation.
That’s why I love Public Transport so much. The observing, that sniffing, the experience of personal atmospheres that people propagate. Getting closer to each other, while one normally recoils when you get too close, as others call it the penetration of someone’s aura. All too often I made up a whole story with all these people featuring a glittering starring role.
A smartphone rang with a funny ringtone. All eyes were on the human answering that call, for a mere second. After that they reacted almost irritated, as if they were forced to enjoy something that went beyond their limits. I wondered if that boundary might not be a disguised wish to leave that fiery protected comfort zone.
The train stopped. Everyone got out quickly and left each other’s way.
For a moment I stood there, lost in the crowd, saying goodbye to that moment when I was allowed to enjoy that more or less profoundly penetrating train treat.
After that, I pulled myself together, eventually I also had to get on with my life…