Things you see on a train… if you happen to be paying attention

There are some perks to being in a place on your own. You become more observant of the sights, sounds and smells around you. Today I walked to Uddingston train station, just a short two miles up the road. Sitting in the tiny station, I saw a girl dancing in her seat while listening to her iPod. She looked like the type who would be jamming to Justin Bieber, perhaps. Two teenage boys who were having a conversation about their 18th birthdays, which were just two weeks apart, blared heavy metal music. A frazzled mother corralled her four little boys about ages 5-11. “Stay close. Stop that! Get over here. Sit down!” she exclaimed.

“Train 14:19 to Dalmuir via Glasgow and Yoker is approaching the station,” the voice said. I stood up and walked outside to the platform. The 14:19 train screeched to a stop, blowing my hair across my face, and an old lady with a cane and navy blue tights cut me off in line to board. The car was nearly full, but I managed to find a seat next to a man wearing a ridiculously bright orange button-up. Two older gents sat in front of me, the one so tall we were knee to knee. After a loud screech and a jerk that whipped me back into my seat, the train pulled out of Uddingston station, Glasgow bound.

One of the two men sitting in front of me, knee to knee, was talking a mile a minute with his friend glancing over every now and then to acknowledge he was listening or at least pretending to. He had an annoyed look on his face, as if to say “I wish he would just shut up already,” but he never said a word. I began to question whether or not they were really friends.

We arrive at the next stop, Cambuslang, and an older woman stands up with a little boy of maybe five years of age, perhaps her grandson. He says loudly, “I hate walking!” and lets out a sigh. A man sitting nearby chuckles and says, “Why don’t you take your horse?” and the little boy inquisitively asks, “My horse?”  I laugh quietly to myself.

The man beside me in the ridiculously orange shirt smells delicious. The smell of his cologne fills the train car. I hear the song “Call Me Maybe” by Carley Rae Jepsen coming from his headphones and again chuckle to myself. Silly for a man of nearly forty years of age to be listening to some American teenage pop star, I think.

How many things do we miss by being distracted, by not paying attention to what is around us? The entertainment value of a place like the train is priceless, but how often do we notice? There are many things to be seen on a train, if you happen to be paying attention.

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