I love this time of year in Melbourne….there’s something in the air that is somehow calming and the world seems to slow down in the gentle afternoon sun. If you look closely you will notice that everyone is moving at a similar pace, just a smidgeon faster than a gentle amble. Even the trains aren’t in a hurry today.
I stand on platform 8B waiting for the train to cart me from the big smoke up into the hills to the northwest, verdant after the early autumn rains. The train sneaks slowly, almost guiltily, into the platform….and the passengers crowd politely around the doors, heeding the announcements “Passengers for the 5.36 train to Bendigo – do not board the train on platform 8B until further notice”..the door is wide open, but like a pack of well trained pooches, we stand almost silently on the platform waiting for permission to move.
Five minutes of patience, and some ‘Australian camaraderie’ amongst people who in most cases have never met, we are permitted entry. There’s a polite rush for seats and everyone settles down for their trip of between 65 and 185km. Some are regular travelers on their way home from work and others are travelers carting their 3-day-long-weekend-clothes and their bedrolls and pillows distributed about their person in carefully balanced disarray. Then there are the sprinters, the ones who are probably late for everything rushing for the doors amid the departure announcement carrying takeaway coffee cups and Hungry Jack’s bags. I have to wonder why some people don’t eat fruit rather than sugar and calorie laden meals…..
The railway track runs in a generally northwest direction and the half the train in the western sun sit fanning themselves,…. Trains are a great place for people watchers – you get to observe people outside while remaining largely unseen.
There’s a young man meditating in the evening sun under the escalators at North Melbourne station, blissfully unaware of the activity just over his head, most travelers on the platform are intent on their iPhones.
iPhones are the new addiction of society…they have even replaced cigarettes during breaks at training seminars….. does anyone not have an iPhone or an Android today? There’s a young woman perched on the luggage rack wearing a pushup bra which is doing a fabulous job of what it was designed to do….and when you are standing next to her you can’t escape the ‘view’.
Off the train at Woodend and up over the bridge, standing watching the diesel fumes lift skyward as the train powers out of the station….follow the crowd out through the old 1860’s station with the 2010 Myki ticket machine still out of action (has been. since it was installed)…..that’s not a taxi in front of the station,..it’s a tractor!…I made the comment that “there’s a tractor pretending to be a taxi at the station” which is met with a guffaw on the other end of the phone….but I have to giggle as the tractor, now with driver and passenger on board (newly arrived from the city in a business suit with a briefcase) roars past me in a cloud of diesel fumes……I just love living in the country!!!!!