I ride the train a lot. If I calculate it, I am probably on the train for about 15 hours ever week. (That sounds really quite disgusting, but the NJ transit monthly bill is affordable as long as my mom has moved to Florida and I am living in her house for free...rent in New York City, however, is not.)
I don't really mind all of this time on the train. In the morning, I take three Benedryl befofe I get on so I can conk out for a bit, and in the evenings, I kinda enjoy reading. (Just a little.) This is my reading time, and nobody can interupt this reading time. I am able to block out my surroundings and get swept away in a book. I laugh and smile to myself frequently, even though I have only broken down and wept exactly twice over books on the train...once for Lance Armstrong's memoir It's Not About the Bike and for the very last Harry Potter book ever. I have also missed my stop once...when I was in the middle of The Kite Runner...
However, sometimes you forget to bring a book, or aren't so into the one you are reading, or finish early and a girl has nothing to do. (Since this particular girl has not joined the 21st century yet and gotten an ipod.)
For all those times on the train when I have nothing else to do, I have taken up the timeless sport of peoplewatching. I remember reading Harriet the Spy when I was a kid. Harriet fancied herself a writer (as did I) and tried to find inspiration all around her, writing down every conversation she overheard. Things eventually caught up to her, and Harriet ended up with no friends because her whole class is mad at her for spying on them and writing about them in her notebook. It is quite sad.
Recently, I couldn't help but notice a young couple sitting a few rows ahead of me. The woman was quite pregnant, and both were in businessclothes. They didn't talk the entire trip, and I started thinking, "Ah, how amazing. They're so close and have such a great connection that they don't NEED to talk to know how the other is feeling."
When their stop came, they both stood up and the man helped get the woman's briefcase down. I continued to wistfully watch them.
In fact, I even continued to wistfully watch them as they got off the train...
And walked in opposite directions.
They weren't married.
Heck, they didn't even KNOW each other.
They were complete strangers, and that is why they weren't speaking to each other. So much for that spectacular connection!
I have also noticed an intense difference between the train on weekends and the train during the week. During the week, people are waiting on the platforms, clutching their coffee and looking like they truly hate their lives. (Honestly, people...nothing can be that bad!)
The weekends on the train, however, are magical, filled with families taking their chldren in for their first shows, dorky high school and college-aged students coming up to the city for the day and thinking they run the world because of it (I am allowed to talk about them like that, because I was once one of them) and cute little senior citizens coming in to see matinees. As a commuter, I try to ride the train at least two Saturdays or Sundays a month to remind myself how exciting and thrilling coming into Manhattan is for some people, so I will never become one of those 9 to 5ers...clutching coffee...hating life...