What to say about yesterday morning’s train ride than that it was a bit touching, or sad, or… I don’t know– maybe partially indicative of a new norm. Sitting across the aisle from me was an elementary school kid, backpack stuffed to the seams at his feet and probably coming in at half his weight, slouched over an unidentifiable hardback on his lap. So far, so good– but something about the vision of his screen-scrolling mother seated next to him, drooping and 80% vegetative in the face of all that data, sort of killed the mood.
And I was prepared for a weird day ahead, with city-wide celebrations all over the place– but when I passed through the turnstiles and followed a woman down the street who looked from the back like a tiny Angela Merkel, I felt I was being given some sort of warning to dedicate myself that day to whatever totem of order and discipline I preferred. Indeed: given the influx of inebriated humanity into the metropolis, I almost swore off the train ride home altogether, planning to test the limits of my boots’ comfort with an hour-plus walk.
But I bucked up, avoided at least two piles of puke on the platform, and in the face of a loud boombox and envelopment by celebratory sardines in the carriage, I conjured the determination of the grim-faced German revealed to me that morning. Had anyone been able to read in that atmosphere, I would have felt slightly frightened of his/her powers. As it is, I was just glad to get home with all items of dress and accoutrements intact, and free from contamination by alcohol or any bodily effluents.