I've been doing a bit more public transport travelling of late. This new temp job of mine is two train rides each way, from my neighbourhood of Newtown, across the city, over the harbour bridge, and up the North Shore to Chatswood. If you live in Sydney you've heard all the complaining about our train system in recent years. Lord knows I've done enough whining about My Arch Nemesis over the life of this blog. A lack of a cohesive plan for our cobbled together train system and many years of expenditure cuts have come home to roost, the trains are dirtier, less frequent, more crowded and less punctual than they were ten years ago. At least my current trip includes the bridge crossing, which I never tire off.
What I've been noticing these past few days is the downtrodden, and sometimes downright mean, atmosphere on the trains. It's the depths of Winter here, which could be part of it I guess. The trains are full of wet umbrellas, big coats, coughs, sneezes and the steamy funk of too many people in too confined a space. Tempers are frayed, spare seats are jealously hoarded, eyes rolled and sighs expressed.
I know that crowded trains are not the place to go looking for shiny, happy people but I don't know it it's the Global Financial Swine/Bird/3 Toed Sloth Flu Crisis or what, but c'mon people. City Rail is unable, or unwilling, to fix the situation in a hurry but maybe I'll have a shot at improving my little corner of the train. Maybe I'll try smiling at someone tomorrow, or at least... not snarling at them for hogging more than half the seat... or nudging me every time they turn the page of their paper... or dripping on me... or...
Wish me luck.