Have you ever felt awkward while being on a train commuting to work when it is incredibly crowded, you don’t have enough space to breath and you sort of just want to get out of there? Well, you’re not alone.
As we went to Whitechapel Gallery one of these past weekends, a particular piece of art caught my attention. It looked like a booth, had an oval shape and room for two people to sit facing each other. According to the description, it was designed in a way for people’s knees to touch. Taking the Monday evening train home, almost touching knees with the person in front of me, my mind is drawn back to figure out what the designer of the booth could have intended to communicate. I’m sure he wanted to point something out with regards to this awkwardness people encounter particularly during rush hours on the Underground or on London’s trains.
Sure, some smart guys must have designed trains to provide transportation for as many people as possible. In cold print, our journey is a business model. If you are not aware, a monthly travel card from tfl for zones 1-3 costs around 150£. Welcome to London, people! Yet it must be said, that I am grateful for all seating available. What a torture it can be to stand up for the entire length of your daily commute, having gone through moments of dizziness where I had to get off before my final stop just to sit down and breath some fresh air.
I’ve been thinking about the awkwardness which I experience when sitting down right in front of another person’s face, maximum 1 meter apart. I wonder where to look. Particularly in the very first moments I find myself feeling strange, as our consciousnesses seem to have a sniff at each other. One perceives another person’s aura somewhat immediately, or maybe my subconscious perceives other aspects and this is making me feel so disturbed. Perhaps the universe urges me to notice those different energies in the air, to become fully aware that there is a more invisible world happening out there.
We know how to juggle mathematical formulas, but do we know how people’s energies add up?
I would assume that particularly the older generation has already found a way to feel comfortable on trains, simply for the fact that they have more experience. I imagine them to have found a way to shut out other people’s auras, or they simply stopped thinking about it. But that is easier said than done, as is true in many matters.
So I am trying to find a practical solution. Above all, many of us are likely experiencing a sense of weirdness. They say that compassion and love cures it all, so I try to come up with something nice about a particular stranger: I imagine the guy in his suit to be funny, the kid particularly smart, and it is obvious to me that the lady looks so elegant. I am trying to focus on the good and put the bad, the potential threat, aside. Let’s focus on the good of each other!
Ultimately, we are not only on the same train but on the same boat.