"Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again." (E.M. Cioran)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another train trip to the 'burbs

A blazingly hot summer day and I'm off to the hospital dental clinic again in Sydney's far west, by train. So, what did I see along my way? Well, in the city, before I'm even at the train station, it's just endless brand names and designer everything on every single person I come across. Shopping is now the official national pastime and designer labels give us our self-esteem - well, it certainly seems that way.

Then the train. A couple sitting opposite me look like off-duty police constables - exuding an attitude of distrust towards anyone in their vicinity, including me. The woman was heavily pregnant and attentive to anything her man said to her, demonstrating her approval of his comments with affectionate pats on his knee, while he maintained his look of indifference. His nose was snout-like and he wore one of those ubiquitous t-shirts printed with splatters of dye and the words 'CULT' and 'INDUSTRIE' in a sort of stencilled/branding style - as if they were stamped on bales of wool. Sitting next to me was a young woman, her feet squeezed into pointy-toed stillettos. Her toes stopped before the pointy part and were squeezing out the sides. During the entire trip, she was plugged in to her iPod and just stared straight ahead. The music must have been loud because it just went 'CALASH CALASH CALASH' the whole time. She wore those huge square'ish sunglasses - like every other woman on the train - that Paris Hilton was wearing (her 'trademark', so the media informed us) when she was in Sydney a week or so ago.

On the way back, the carriages were packed - a father with three mischievous children climbing all over the seats opposite me and a couple of old-timers next to me. At Strathfield, another old man got on, wheeling a suitcase and decided to squeeze in next to me backside first. I just saw this huge bum coming towards me and he smelt strongly of (a certain) haemorrhoid cream. For the rest of the journey, I could feel his thighs jammed up next to mine and smell the haemorrhoid cream.

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