Tuesday, June 15

Strangers on a train 

There’s more than an obvious, enigmatic charm in riding on the Metra. It’s a whole new world out there. And I don’t just mean the pretty, young executive woman with the dream-like peaches-and-cream complexion and a curiously crease-free skirt; or the plump managerial male with a receding hairline glaring at you like a halo over his head, and a beer belly that he adroitly covers with his glitzy leather bag; or the school goers nearly buried under their gigantic backpacks, with secret compartments that precariously hold together their life supplies, love letters, unsolved puzzle books, and perhaps, candy, or empty pages and inkless pens -- but what visibly showcases their surreptitious personae are their daring designer tattoos -- and their trendy i-pods that seemingly reverberate the very rhythm of their well-claimed lives; or any of the other strangers one is bound to come across -- some uniformed, some dressed in just the colors that appear to reveal their states of mind, some just barely attired, or accounted for by their outer shells. It’s not the foible of the flawlessly manicured air stewardess that tries to pass up any contact with the metal poles, lest her dainty fingers get soiled with the reek of ageing rust, which amuses me. It is exactly the opposite. I tend to believe she fears not that; but rather the thought of her own plush self-essence that might permeate the new world. Likewise, the little Japanese family of nieces and aunts, conversing animatedly in a dialect strictly their own, seem not to worry of a credence in the new order, but rather of the new order intruding their purportedly secure existences.

With all the intricate details of so many lives thrown into a cosmos bunged off the world beyond, there’s far too much going on, and all at the same time, to be able to imbibe every fragment, and yet remain restless or wary. Much like the words of quintessence that brim over from the book of wisdom in a way that you seem to begin to fathom, but eventually lose yourself in just a portion of the knowledge, resulting in a mélange of half-hearted redress and restiveness.

Yet, in all this disarray, there seems to be a sense of stability. We are no more unfamiliar than we are unified, trusting together the heaving haulage to lead us to our destinations, and believing in a transitory acquiescence of the several mysterious souls aboard. There is no more wanton than there is wont, no more known aliens than there are unknown allies. Among these varied voyagers of everyday, nothing is said, yet everything seems acknowledged. Where diversity rules, even a weird new world is haven.

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