I commute on the train daily now. I’ve gotten really close to the people on the train. Not all of them–just the ones whose butts and fronts are uncomfortably close to my face when I get a seat. I’ve also gotten close to the ones I’ve fallen on when I don’t get a seat and the train stops abruptly like the magnificent unicorn that it is.
It’s weird to be so physically close to people and their various parts with varying levels of hygiene. It’s a kind of public intimacy, but to know nothing about them beyond their appearance and our private judgements on that.
I spend more time in this collective closeness of the Brown Line than with many of the people with whom I’m truly close. How can I better spend this time, this sleepy encounter (in the morning–everyone is so quiet) and tired companions (in the evening)? How can I pay forward some humor and humanity in the morning?
I’m not looking so much to create a spectacle of this public private thing called commuting, but I’d like to see it more as an opportunity to receive it as the gift it is, spending time with other humans, unrepeatable people who have gifts, talents, experiences, imaginations, love, and loss within them, rather than seeing them as…well, butts.
Stay tuned for more commuting tales of inspiration and naturally, woe. My daily train rides are my morning monastery, my evening retreat. And a tremendous source of comedic material.
This is a Five Minute Friday post, an unpretentious literary party. Join us.