Sydney rail commuters have had their limits tested of late; major delays, cancellations, closures for track work and a myriad of other inconveniences. This morning my train pulled into the next stop after my starting station, where it sat for a few minutes, and then the guard announced that there would be a short delay as we waited for the signal ahead to clear. Nothing unusual.
A short while later the guard announced that there was a deceased person on a train a couple of stations ahead of us, and that there would be further delays heading into the city while emergency services dealt with the situation.
I found the reactions of many of my fellow commuters really disappointing and saddening. More than a few did the usual rolling of eyes, checking of watches and reaching for mobile phones that normally accompanies a delay announcement. Like it was a regular everday inconvenience.
It just struck me how horrible it is that we have become so walled up in our internal landscapes of self-talk, delusions, ego, petty angers and frustrations that a person could die and they get treated as an inconvenience. That person was someone's father, mother, sister, lover or friend. Also, what of the other passengers that were with that person in the train, as they died? What must that have been like to be beside someone and to perhaps have tried in vain to resucitate them, or to have just noticed that the person next to you was dead, or to have been so overcome with fear and self-doubt that you sat there not able to help?
I've been thinking about this person all morning, about the stranger on the train that is now no longer with us. I hope their death was painless and swift, and pray they have an auspicious rebirth.