Travelling by train, bus or any other kind of public transport can generate remarkable experiences. The things you see or the people you meet can have a profound effect on you and even though the moment was short and briefly it might conquer a place into your memory for ever.
This week I had the pleasure of talking to someone on the subway. I don’t know if I will remember him in ten years, I doubt it, but it was one of these experiences I would have missed out on if I had travelled by bike or by car.
He stood in the doorway hesitating whether to board or not. He asked a boy -who had decided it would be a smart idea to bring his bike on the subway during rush hour- the destination of the subway. The boy had to think a little too long, so I quickly replied the answer. The man on the platform hastily jumped in right before the doors closed.
He started to ask the bike boy how long it would take to get to a certain egress point. The man had white messy hair and on his nose balanced an arty pair of glasses. He smelled like cigarettes and something else that seemed familiar. The boy didn’t really seemed to be a subway expert and couldn’t provide him with a satisfying answer (at least in my opinion) so I tried to be helpful by telling the man the whereabouts of the subway.
This created a great opportunity to start a conversation (at least in the man’s opinion) and so we did. At first I felt annoyed. After a days work I wanted to stare out of the window; watching the world go by; thinking of nothing; letting the music on my iPod wash away the noise in my brain. Someone babbling noise back in again wasn’t what I was hoping for. But there was something sympathetic about him that made me switch of my music and talk back.
Before parting he asked my name. I replied again but added that I didn’t know how it could be of any help. And so, just before he left the wagon, he said it would be for his memoirs.
I wonder what he will write about our brief encounter…