I ride the same train to and from work five days a week.
I take the same seat next to the window near the middle of the car so I can charge my phone, God knows why I hardly ever get calls or texts.
I suppose I do that because it’s what one does and when one is in public- one makes the effort to belong.
One day a new passenger got on the train and of all the seats she could have taken, she took the one in front of me.
I did not because it didn’t matter what I said or did. I doubt if she even really saw me.
The new person, phone in hand gave it a little swipe with her finger and then she disappeared, as most people do, into the small screen.
I was relived.
New people chat or shift around in their seats and end up being a distraction.
I don’t like to be distracted and I like my quiet-I wasn’t always such a solitary creature. I suppose I evolved into one.
I take my book out of my backpack and found my place. You see I read real books with paper pages becauseI like the feel of them in my hand. They are solid, they smell good and most of all they ground me here and hold me here like an anchor would hold a boat or ship in place in a stormy sea.
At exactly 4:12 just before the doors close the usual passengers pile in and claim their seats and as if they were performing some sort of dance together, they all sit and take out their phones and swipe the screens at the exact same moment and like the woman in front of me they disappear into their phones, into their own little worlds.
I am alone now, in the car I ride every single day to and from work- sometimes I wonder where they all go when they jump through those little screens but I’ve never been curious enough to follow them.
I have my book with paper pages and I carry my phone so that I will blend in-at least that’s the idea.
But I guess I don’t really fit in and I suppose- as I hold my book to my chest, with my finger holding it open to the page I am going to start reading- by the look of those seats empty of people but each holding a small chattering, blinking phone, that might not be such a bad thing.
Created from the Character Sketch created in “ My Portrait In Words”
Portraiture Part 2