Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Stream of consciousness - musings on journeys and problems and Melburnians.

Today I'm grateful that the most obvious to response to this information: "I'm going to get my hair done." isn't, "Which one?"

That sentence was really quite difficult to punctuate. How did I go?

Every time I have been to the hairdresser in 2013 it has rained on my way home. This is definitely a first world problem.

Speaking of first world problems, the other day I was at Flinders Street Station trying to locate my train (you'd think this would be easier than it actually is). I'd been waiting at Platform 8 for a while. This wasn't random, the signs all pointed to the fact that this was the place for the 5:36 pm to Laverton. A train arrived on the platform. The crowd of waiters (not the drinks kind) surged forward under the impression that the train would be the 5:36 pm to Laverton. As we surged, the sign changed its mind and informed us that it was the 5:40 pm to somewhere else, like Frankston or Packenham. We held back. An announcement informed us that the train on platform 8 was indeed the 5:36pm to Laverton. We surged forward and settled into our seats. "Settled" isn't really the right word. We were unsettled, but I don't know how to unsettle. The sign inside the train suggested the train was going to Packenham or Frankston. People dithered. Who to trust? The written word on a sign that has been wrong before or the live announcement from a human. I assume it was a human. Just as I relaxed in preparation for my journey homeward, an faint announcement was heard outside the train which sent a ripple of anger, a shiver of confusion through the commuters on board who had foolishly trusted the announcement last time. This announcement told us that we were on a train going to Frankston or Packenham and that the 5:36pm Laverton train was now arriving on platform 9! Could we trust the announcement? We surged from the train on to the platform and found a small moustached man wearing an orange high-vis vest and asked him the pertinent question: what the hell is going on? He shrugged in response.

The shrug was like an ember on a stream of petrol. Teeth were bared. We just needed to know which train, where, so we could go home.

Off to one side of the group a woman announced:  "First world problems people! First world problems! Some people don't have a home to go to, let alone a train to get there on. These are first world problems."

That didn't even make sense. As she wasn't getting on any train, but just hanging around the platforms passing moral judgement on people responding to chaos and the cosmic joke that is Flinders Street and Metro Trains at peak hour, I wondered where she was trying to go.

Another man tried to argue to logic of how the 5:40pm train had arrived before the 5:36pm train and it should be ours! I wanted to start singing songs from "Les Mis". I refrained. By that I mean I didn't. I don't mean that I sang a chorus.  Another shrug and he would have hijacked the train and taken us all west. We would have heard the people sing!

Once you're on a train in peak hour there's the added problem trying to navigate overcrowding of the aisles when there are lots of seats vacant. They're vacant because people don't move over and fill the seats furthest from the aisles first. They hog the outside seats hoping to have a bank of two or three to themselves.

I ask people nicely if I may have their seat. They look shocked. Then they move over. I always get a seat.

Then I hand them a tissue because they will inevitably be sniffing the entire liquid contents of their head back into their nasal passages. Repeatedly. What is with Melburnians and sniffing on public transport?

This was a diversion from the hairy, smelly man who was engaging himself in detailed conversation this morning on the way into the city. I didn't mind the conversation, but the smell was hard to take in closed quarters.

Then I heard that the baby elephant born at the Melbourne Zoo nearly a year ago died overnight. I never met Sanook but I had watched a documentary about the elephants at the zoo. I felt sad.

The rain fell, providing a sympathetic background of Shakespearean proportions and a mechanism to negate the efforts of my hairdresser.

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