Friday, 19 June 2015

People you see on the morning commute

I’m starting to love my morning commute on the train more and more every day, there’s always so much to look at.

In my carriage this morning there are four young schoolgirls sitting in front of me.  They are quite young, probably only in their very early teens and they are sitting together and giggling quietly (it is the quiet carriage) and passing their smart phones back and forth while they look at websites. It must be sports day because they are all wearing sporty clothes and school caps instead of hats.

Across the aisle, two friends are comparing makeup products while they put their makeup on for the day.  I am impressed with the amount of kit that they have in their bags. I usually just have some pressed powder and lipstick for emergencies, but they have full bags of material and mirrors to boot.

Further down, a guy dozes against the window – he obviously hasn’t had his morning coffee yet.  Behind him, another guy fits a big pair of headphones over his green beanie (how can he hear the music through them?) and plugs into his phone.  A guy across the aisle has a laptop balanced on his knees and is tapping away with impressive energy for this hour of the morning.

Sitting next to the door is an older gent all dressed up for a day in the city. He’s in neatly pressed jeans, a checked shirt, jacket and an Akubra with a small feather stuck into the band. He looks like a country bloke.  Across from him, another guy is sitting slumped against the side of the chair and looking like he’s had a rough night.  His hair could do with a comb and I think the older gent has clocked this too.

A professional couple are sitting behind me talking about work and training courses. I watched them get on at my station. The woman must have spent at least an hour getting ready for the day as she has styled hair, full makeup and a smart suit.  It seems a bit excessive for a Friday when most people are dressed down in jeans or more casual gear. Maybe she's a lawyer or is making a presentation today.

A young woman gets on the train a few stops from the city and stands next to the door. She’s wearing a short grey dress, long black cardigan that almost reaches her knees, black opaque tights and thick clumpy lace up shoes with three inch soles and five inch heels.  I admire the look but know I’ll never be able to emulate it.  As the train speeds along she pulls a box of almonds from her bag and starts munching – is this breakfast?

With a squeal of breaks and rush of wind, we arrive in the city and stream out the door and up the escalators to start the last working day of the week. Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Back in the big smoke

Gosh, how did all that time pass?   So much for vowing to keep up the weekly posting.  But in my defence, I have been a little bit busy lately because you see, I’ve started a new job.

King George Square from above
After nine years working out in the suburbs, I’ve moved right into the centre of the city and the first week or so was a little bit bewildering as I grappled with unfamiliar public transport, a new job and blustery winter winds all at once. But once things settled, I was able to look around and realise how much things have changed since I last worked in the city.

The first thing that struck me was the increase in traffic. I live less than 10km from the city and on the first day it took me nearly an hour to travel that far by bus – and almost as long to come home again! I’ve since shifted to the train system and it’s much quicker and easier, although I do struggle with the fact that I have to be there at the right time for the train or I miss it. I was so used to jumping in my car whenever I was ready that I’ve had to come up with a whole morning schedule to make sure I get out the door on time. I’m constantly looking at my watch and reminding myself that my hair brushing and makeup slot is coming out and that I better get going if I don’t want to leave the house barefaced and fuzzy haired (although it’s happened once or twice due to lack of time).  I’d get up earlier but it’s just too dark and cold right now. Maybe in summer.

The other thing I can’t get over is how many people spend any spare second they have GLUED to their smart phones. I got on the train yesterday and there were about 30 people in the carriage and there were only about three people in the whole carriage who weren’t head down, finger scrolling their way through some kind of content.  It does make people watching quite entertaining because no one pays attention to you, but I can’t help feeling like we are all missing out on something.

I’ve been enjoying my travelling time by jumping onto my kindle and continuing on with whatever book I’m reading at the moment. That has proved a little bit problematic though, because I’d forgotten that when you are sitting in the ‘quiet’ carriage on the train and you read something funny and you laugh, people notice (except when they are plugged into their smart phones). I’ve been chuckling away at a fabulous book called ‘The year of living Danishly’ by Helen Russell who upped sticks and moved to Billund in Denmark with her husband when he got a job for Lego (did you know that Lego was Danish? I didn’t). She spends the year using her journalistic skills to interview Danes and find out why they have been dubbed the world’s happiest country.  It lists a few too many stats and figures, but there are definitely some laughs to be had and insights into why the Danish way of life produces such happy people.

My last observation is that there still seem to be a lot of smokers in the world and they obviously all work in the city and walk the streets, trailing a wafting stink of smoke in their wake. I mean honestly people, come on! If you are going to inhale the equivalent cost of a cup of coffee into your lungs, can’t you at least go sit down somewhere nice (and far out of the way) and do it? It’s been nearly a decade since I had to be anywhere near smokers and absence hasn’t made my heart grow fonder.

But on the plus side, I’d forgotten what it was like to be able to make a lunchtime run to David Jones and to have to decide which of the dozen sushi shops in the vicinity I’m going to give my patronage to.  The advent of online shopping has filled the hole that an absence of bookshops left, but I do love having so many shoe shops close by! Stay tuned for updates.

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