Going home

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

The throng on the platform is visible from the gantry – they’re standing five deep, and that last train had been near-full when it pulled in. This next train stands at the platform, doors closed whilst staff pick sweet wrappers and newspapers from the seats, and meanwhile the crowd arranges itself in clusters, ready to surge forward.

It is friday afternoon, it is 5pm, and to a man they are eager to discard their workday selves; they have given their hours to their companies, and now they are free, but first they must get home. This man with his folding bike, that man with a suitcase. That woman with her bunch of flowers cradled carefully as a baby.

Nobody is making eye contact. Everyone is tensed, waiting for the green light to illuminate, releasing the doors. They are all simultaneously aware of the people around them, and stoically ignoring them. Nobody wants to touch anyone else; each wants to believe him or herself special, independent, but if you were to look again from that walkway above, your mind would be drawn to images you’ve seen on nature programmes and the obvious analogies about ants or worker bees swarming as a single entity.

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