Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Excuse me while I straddle your suitcase.

Walking around these days is a dangerous occupation.  Especially when it's raining.  People have the added weaponry and complexity of umbrellas to stab you with, trip over and shake all over you.

Being packed into airless train carriages on wet, steamy mornings where the windows are fogged up and it's dark outside becomes even more unpleasant when you're struck in the head by someone with a backpack or have a wet umbrella shaken all over you.

I've worked out how to make it rain in Melbourne - go to the hairdresser and have my long, curly hair blow dried straight.  The combination of rain and humidity makes it go fluffy and I wonder why I bothered.

This morning, as well as my handbag and my BIG umbrella, I was dragging a wheeled suitcase behind me.  On days when I'm facilitating, I've discovered it's much easier to wheel everything I need (pens, folders, blu-tack, scissors, notes, ipod and dock) than to drag everything I need.  I also don't end up arriving quite as rumpled.

I discovered a new hazard though - someone falling over the suitcase.  As I walked along the concourse at Southern Cross Station, wheeling my bag behind me, I became conscious of a man walking at some pace beside me.  He was not looking where he was going.  He was busily fixated on some urgent business on his phone (his turn in Words with Friends, status update on Twitter...).  I could feel him veering diagonally and could feel he was going to cross my path.  I tried to get out of his way and then I felt my suitcase stop.  I looked behind myself and saw the man straddling my suitcase, clutching his phone and wondering what was going on.

"Oh," I gasped.  "What's happening here?"

"I'm not sure. It's okay," he replied as he tried to step elegantly over the suitcase.

I waited.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I was worried that if I pulled the suitcase forward or pushed it back he would end up sprawled on the wet concourse.  I waited.

He stepped forward, OFF the suitcase and continued on his way.

Lucky I wasn't a car or the top of the big staircase down to Spencer Street!  I wonder if he managed to get to his destination this morning? I feared for his safe arrival.

Travelling home this afternoon after a long day, I shamelessly put my ear buds in and chose a raucous track.  I'm sure the sound was bleeding through the earphones, probably annoying the people around me, but I'm unapologetic.  I wanted to - needed to - lose myself in the rhythm.  And I did.

But when I arrived at the station and had to walk home after getting through the "touch off" crush created by poorly designed myki ticket barriers, I turned the music off and paid attention.

Have you ever had an accident (big or small) because you've been distracted by your phone?excExcuse

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