Whether I’m travelling to or from my internship or just exploring the city, I spend a good chunk of my time commuting. Since I carry a book around with me everywhere I go, I generally spend this time lost in whichever one I happened to have grabbed that morning. There are, however, rare occasions on which I don’t read (i.e. I can’t get my book out of my bag because the train is too full). Instead, I’m left standing awkwardly, steadying myself with whatever pole or person is in reach and hoping that no one makes eye contact with me.
In these situations – try as I may – I can’t stop myself from looking at (and subsequently wondering about) the people around me. Without meaning to, I find myself imagining how exactly they got to this point in their lives.
Did the orange plaid-wearing man with the iconic Silver Snail bag just make a trip to that comic book store, or is he using it to carry his lunch to work, like me?
Is the woman leaning her head against the window, staring listlessly into the darkness outside, alright? Did her passionate whirlwind relationship with the man of her dreams just come to an end, or is she just bored?
Why is that sleeping girl so tired? Does she work the night shift at her job, or did she just pull an all-nighter finishing a research paper for one of her classes? Maybe it’s neither. Maybe she just finds transit relaxing.
I walk by, stand beside, and make uncomfortable eye contact with hundreds of people every day, but I’d never break the unspoken rule of transit and actually talk to them.