A commuter gram from the train A Fictional Functional Family
The next sentence will depart on line 2, pausing at each comma. Passengers note, the first and last paragraphs are quiet carriages. If you are travelling in these carriages please refrain from using large capitals, big words, loud clichés or strident rhetoric.
The next stop is yawning, followed by sleeping and snoring.
The morning and evening commute across Sydney by train is always an eye opener. There is always a ripple of yawns along the carriage. Like a tired version of a Mexican wave, it sweeps along the seats catching even the most alert by surprise. Why do we yawn? I checked Wikipedia. It says: "A yawn is a reflex of simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the eardrums, followed by exhalation of breath. Pandiculation is the act of yawning and stretching simultaneously." I am now yearning for an opportunity to accuse someone of pendiculating in public and watch the look on their face. Wiki says 'yawning is commonly associated with tiredness, stress, overwork, lack of stimulation and boredom with studies showing it may be linked to cooling of the brain."
This train will now stop at personal space - please mind the gap.
The behaviour of my fellow commuters is always interesting. Seating etiquette or the lack of it is often on display. There are those of all genders who readily offer their seat to others, particularly to older people and pregnant woman. Then there are those people, mostly males, who sit stony faced in a row of seats, setting up their bags on the next two seats as an impenetrable barrier and simply ignore any obvious need from other passengers. They will even blatantly ignore a polite request to move over.
This stop is feminism. This train does not stop at Hassledom. Brackets opening - (Please stand clear of the brackets) - Brackets closing.
I have noted that many women passengers prefer, whenever possible, to sit alone or together with other women on a train. I assume this is because they have had a few nasty experiences that they would rather not repeat. This is a shame. From what I have observed, most men are polite and would never hassle anyone but clearly there must be some that do. There has been talk of the need for pink coloured, woman only, carriages. Where is the call for blue ones for men? If men had to ride in certain carriages then women could have all the rest of the train to themselves rather than just one or two designated areas. It's a bit like warning women not to go out at night because it's not safe - but never telling men they should stay off the streets.
The last paragraph on this train of thought is a quiet carriage.
One of the cleverest and certainly most dangerous things I have seen on the train is women putting on mascara while the train is moving. The swaying and rolling of the carriage, while women, with mirror in one hand and mascara brush in the other primp their eyelashes, always makes me worry that they will stab themselves in the eye. It is a relief when they finally feel they have their eyelashes looking the right shade of glamorous and put the little brush away and then spent the rest of the journey reading a book.
This column terminates here, Please transfer to other sections of the paper to continue your reading journey through the Chronicle. Terry Sarten currently lives in Sydney and takes the train to work every day.
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