The Tapestry of Melbourne Commuters…

The crisp air of the morning hangs subtly in the face of the deceiving glow with the rising sun. It is early. Melbourne is waking from a restful slumber as the train station begins to fill with pre peak hour commuters. Standing patiently, I watch as lights come into view, slithering along the tracks. The train slows and eventually comes to a halt.
Beep Beep Beep

The train sounds in quick succession. The circular button on the door is surrounded by lights, beckoning those on the other side to enter. A woman standing to my immediate right is already leaning across me, frantically pressing the button without waiting for the light to come on. The doors are barely opened and the woman is already jumping through them without taking notice of the commuters trying make their way onto the platform and out of the train. As I step aside allowing them to exit, a man steps in front and barges in without any thought to me standing there. Subtly shaking my head in a disapproving manner, I make my way onto the train. The train remains near empty. The ridiculously early time means that there are many seats available…everywhere.

I take my seat by the window and settle with one bag on the floor and the other on my lap. I take out my Kindle and scroll through the saved books until I find the spot I left off at. The silence in the train is pleasing at this hour. I refrain from filling my ears with music and immersing myself in a land and time far from the environment I currently find myself. The silence gives my mind space to concentrate on my reading, a very rare occurrence on the train.

We slowly take off, briefly stopping at each station along the way. Three stations later and the train environment is dramatically altered. Three young school girls enter. I hear their loud giggles and amazingly quick speech long before I see them. Whilst I enjoy the sounds of giggling, their energetic conversation is loud enough to also be enjoyed by the entire train. The gossip is distracting. I re read the same sentence 6 times before I concede defeat. Staring out the window, I watch as the morning sun starts emerging from behind the heavily pregnant clouds. The rays stream through in orange and pink streaks. I allow my minds eye to dance along the possibilities in life generally and smile. My vision is captured by the graffiti art that lines the fences facing the tracks.

The girls stories are too loud to block from hearing and without intention, I try to follow the stories of Maddison and Katie and all of the other girls that came with colourful and not all flattering descriptions.

As we move from another station, a larger man takes the seat and a half in front of me. His breathing is laboured and he settles into his seat, leaning his hand against the window he immediately falls into what appears to be a deep slumber. The laboured breathing immediately becomes a low, rumbling snore originating from the depths of his throat. Attempting to return my attention to the book, I am astounded at the noises emerging before my eyes, assaulting my ears. Testing my level of tolerance, I take a breath and slowly exhale trying to focus on my own breath in an attempt to block out the disturbingly unhealthy sounds. This is a level of tolerance I have not yet attained, regardless of all the years I have practiced meditation. Standing by my belief that everyone has the right to regulate themselves, I retrieve my ipod as a means to save my morning sanity.

Closing my eyes, I hope the train speeds quickly through the remainder of the journey. Opening my eyes moments later, the gentle sounds soothing my mind stop abruptly. Looking down, my ipod screen is void save for the offensive bolt of lightning indicating the battery life has run out. The snoring, amongst the loud chatter of the woman beside me on her phone and the other school children have invaded my peace.

Looking around, the obvious tapestry of Melbourne commuters is represented on this train.

One woman watching a music video without the assistance of headphones for all the train to share in…

One eating an interesting train breakfast choice of eggs and bacon…

Those talking in loud volumes on their phone…

There are the commuters staring…

Many actions appear without regard for the remainder of the train. This raises a question.

Are the behaviours of the commuters indicative of the approach and disregard they have in life and allthose that surround them…

Interesting thoughts about the extent of the quality of peoples attitudes, attributes and approaches to life… are they genuinely negative and nasty people…

In the powerful words of Mahatma Gandhi…

Be the change you wish to see in the world…

~ F.P
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