My new job requires me to ride the train to work.
I sort of loath public transport but out of all of them; train travel is the lessor of evils so it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened but it’s definitely not like ‘wow wahoo yipee’ either. I don’t like the train because I find it sort of stressful. Sure, once you take a seat (or a stand if you’re unlucky) you’re all set, but the whole concept of racing to make sure you don’t miss the train makes me nervous. I get nervous as I see the train arriving and I can see that lady/man starting to run. I pray and will their legs to run faster so that they don’t miss their train and end up late to work. And then I pray that it never happens to me. I also find the train quite depressing. It’s like the least cheery place on earth. If you looked up Disneyland in the dictionary, it would have “Train Travel” as the antonym. Everyone is on their way to their lame corporate jobs and it’s like cracking a smile is a massive social faux pas just like talking too loudly in the ‘quiet carriage’.
That’s a tad dramatic you say? You’re probably right. But there’s still a vibe. Lots of racing and lots of straight faces. People aren’t rude on trains (Buses are another matter) but they aren’t happy either.
The other day I was riding the train home and was struck with this sudden rush of gratitude. I was riding home on the train from my job. MY JOB. The very fact that I had one is a blessing, especially when I’d just been out of work. The fact that I could drive to the station and then catch public transport is a blessing. I get to catch an express train home which makes my trip that much faster. I get to look out the window on my mostly smooth journey and see mostly trees and blue skies. That’s a blessing.
I won’t bother/bore you by listing every other single blessing that I have, because most of them I’m actually pretty good at remembering (food, shelter, freedom) but it’s the little things I tend to forget to be grateful for. The little things like train travel.
And so on that train ride home, I smiled. I looked out the window and smiled.
I hope when someone saw me that afternoon, they were surprised by my smile and pleasantly so. I hope they realised that they too, could be grateful for train travel. I’m not saying I’m about to revolutionise public transport forever and try and give Disneyland a run for its money as the happiest place on earth. I just hope someone else smiles on my next train ride. That would make me happy.