Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Transit

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.

8 comments:

Mel said...

Let a smile be your umbrella?

Little kindnesses do have a ripple effect, so let 'er rip.

mrpeenee said...

Zen, baby, zen.

mark said...

The guard on the train I was on this morning had some lovely cheery announcements for us. eg, as we were heading over the bridge.

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. This is usually my favourite part of the journey, but its a little bit dull today. None-the-less, I hope you have a great day today. And as I won't be seeing you tomorrow, a great weekend

Made me smile, had a laugh with the woman sitting next to me, and said thanks to her (the guard) when I got off.

Nicole said...

bright blue sock knitting and the ipod are my friend in ignoring #@$@# people on the train. some days are great (the majority please note), some days i have to do the zen meditation of knitting to prevent myself from popping their eyeballs with my needles :)

jason said...

wishing you luck indeed.

(and praying that you invented that three toed sloth flu stuff, or God help us all)

Graeme said...

for a 3rd on the bigger seats and a 2nd on the smaller seats. I also am efficient and fast at the supermarket checkout. I try and make sure I'm courteous to fellow travellers and shoppers. Sadly I'm in the minority.

I've taken to pushing my way onto a seat on the train when someone is deliberately taking up 2 or 3 seats. They give me a look and I blank them. It's a dog eat dog world on Cityrail.

The Other Andrew said...

I think some of it was definitely weather related, since the rain eased off everyone seems to be in a bit better disposition!

LaDivaCucina said...

If only the ferry were faster and cheaper! I always found that taking the ferry to be relaxing after a stressful day. (ok I know there are no ferry stops in Newtown!) $5 one way?! Sheesh!

When I lived just across the bridge in Kirribilli and had a bartending gig at the Opera House, it used to take me 45 min. to get to work just across the harbour! The Opera House is one long walk once out of Circular Quay!