Lazy Luddite Log

20.5.12

Commuters

Last time I discussed Public Transport it was to criticise the latest ticketing change. This time however I want to say how interesting commuters can be. Travelling on PT is a way of sampling society. Everyone who cannot or simply declines to drive a car but who still wants to travel beyond their own neighbourhood can be found mingling on the buses and trains and trams.

My old habit is to listen to music and stare out the window. However lately I have been listening to music at work and decided to forego more music to and from work. I have gotten the chance therefore to let conversations wash over me. Many are mundane and include such topics as what needs to be got at the shops (boring) and who needs to be reprimanded at the office (boring). But sometimes things get more interesting and a few chats I have listened in on lately have included a tipsy youth amusing a friend by saying everything (much of it rude) in rhyme and some uni students considering incorporating sock puppets into a tute presentation. I must admit I tend to find the discussions of those younger than me to be more interesting in general.

However even if I am listening to my device I still enjoy observing human behaviours. Interactions are fascinating and I sometimes wonder what connections I am observing. Are those two chatting in a warm and engaging manner friends? Are they siblings? Are they lovers? Or want to be? It is a bit voyeuristic I confess.

Many of us on PT however travel alone - I am usually one of them. And even lone commuters are interesting to glance at in passing - keeping in mind that there is a very short safe timeframe in which to glance at someone before it seems that you are scrutinizing them. I just look at expressions. Are they happy or sad? Are they thinking or just meditating. What music are they listening to (heck sometimes I can tell the exact song as they have the volume cranked to the max).

That is one thing that has changed. Many of all ages and backgrounds use technology to pass the time like never before. Work or study is done on laptops. Games are played on pads and phones. Books are now often in the form of those futuristic Etchasketches. And then there are always those who are asleep. We expend so much of our energy at work that sleeping on PT is a solution. However we are so much more than our jobs as all the many behaviours observed on PT show that.

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