I take the train in and out of downtown St. Louis every day for work. Which is great for so many reasons: it saves gas money, I don’t have to be frustrated with traffic twice a day, it lessens the chance of my already breaking-down car to break even further, it gives me the chance to read and write on my commute, AND (this is my favorite) the train is a prime place for people-watching.
Some people/things I’ve seen: Women applying 10 layers of mascara on the morning train. A man in a chef’s uniform (complete with the hat). Lots of women reading cheap romance novels. Ganstas who need belts. A gray-haired man reading the New York Times. Mothers with crying babies. A quiet woman with eyes that are always downcast. Two friends laughing together. Men in uniform. Nurses in scrubs getting off at the hospital stop. Students with backpacks, studying in their seats. A couple sitting in front of me, whispering into each others’ ears. Clearly in love. A middle-aged man who jokes with me after we both get soaked as we ran to the train in a torrential downpour.
I don’t know these people, but I can’t help but wonder about their lives. What are their passions? Where do they work? What music are they listening to on their iPods? What books are they reading, and why? Do they have families? Why won’t that quiet woman look up and smile? What’s the chef’s favorite food to cook? Did the nurse take car of preemie babies like my niece today? Will I become friends with that nice man I say hi to every morning?
Funny how we encounter so many people every day but know so little about them.
I hope all my train friends are happy tonight.