Thursday, April 19, 2007

On The Train (Sense of Belonging or Is It CoP?), Feb 27, 2007

I arrived at the station at the same time as the 0646 train and decided to miss it. What I mean is that I could have still make it if I rushed a bit but not wanting to start a day on a stressful level I just walked towards the station on my own usual pace. I was late because of a trailer blocking our path on the other side of the bridge crossing the railway track. I knew by then I would be late of at least would barely made it. Fortunately I was relaxed waiting for the trailer to move aside to create a path for us to pass through.

Obviously the platform was empty when I walked on it towards my usual waiting area. I sat myself on the bench and waited doing nothing. I did not know what to expect really knowing the crowd on the 0646 train I could be standing all the way to the office on the 0704 one but I was bullish. I confidently felt that I would get a seat nevertheless. One after the other commuters started to emerge and walk pass by me until I realized I was actually seeing a different set of commuters from the one that I am used to in the morning. Suddenly I felt like an outsider encroaching on another territory. The feeling was compounded when I actually inside the train when people, those awake anyway, started to look at me strangely. As simple or mundane as commuting on the train I could feel that way, sense of lost and detached from my own community, and feeling threaten by a new one. That was certainly a powerful realization for me.
Strangely though I never had the same group of commuters going home everyday. Regardless whether I am late or early it would be a different set of people. Well a least I have that feeling.

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