There is something vaguely magical about the public transport system in Melbourne. Don’t get me wrong; it’s slow and only partially reliable and often inconsiderate of people who forget umbrellas, but nevertheless, there is an aura of camaraderie aboard the trains, where everyone sits plugged into their iPods, and people-watches everyone on their carriage.
You can learn a lot about someone by watching them when they aren’t aware I it. It sounds creepy, but you do it, even unconsciously. That girl with the funky shoes, the man with the unusual tie, so ugly that it must have been a gift from a family member. You notice things about other people and create stories about their lives. Well, I do.
I’ve almost always enjoyed catching public transport. I like feeling that I’m saving the world, one bus trip at a time, or the pseudo-acquaintances that you make catching the same train line each day. There’s a sense of community. A feeling of you-can’t-afford-a-car?-me-neither! Lets be buddies.
I like it. It’s calming, knowing your journey is always out of your hands; that its prearranged and mindless. You don’t have to watch the traffic, or pre-plan your petrol purchases; it’s all organised and worked to benefit you; the contentious member of society.