The quiet carriage.

We’re all on the same journey through life, every single one of us who exist at this very second on this planet, whether we are just taking our first breaths or choking on our last. At this given moment, right NOW we are all interconnected in some way that I haven’t a clue how to explain (I’m not religious) but I just “feel” it.

A tapestry of souls…
I’ll leave it at that.

It’s for this reason, this feeling I have, that I am so sad to admit that I am experiencing a loneliness here on earth, with all these billions of other people surrounding me that I never imagined I would.
I don’t know if other people have felt it, or are feeling it too, but it bothers me.

People seem to becoming more and more insular. Shut off from others around them.
You get on a train or bus and nobody even glances your way, no one nods a friendly hello, cracks even the slightest smile.
People sit with their phones in their hands fiddling, texting, updating their facebook status.
There’s always some kind of technological gadget they find an excuse to be engaged with in order to blot out the rest of the world wherever they are, whoever they are with even.

The most irritating thing I find are people who are WITH you (none of my close friends, thankfully) who seem to need to be checking their phones every five minutes. How disrespectful!
Can’t people just be “in the moment” – I mean REALLY “in the moment” for more than a few minutes without their addiction to technology getting in the way?
I mean, really, how IN the moment can you be if you have to be taking a photo of it to stick up on facebook the minute the moment is occurring?

Everywhere you go now there are machines instead of people.
Ticket machines, automatic check outs where you don’t have to interact with a HUMAN check out chick.  When I was in Perth there were even cages around the bus drivers, for their protection? Maybe Taxi’s are be the same these days? I don’t know, I’m not privileged enough to afford taxi’s.
It all screams “leave me alone!”
That’s what the world seems to be saying?
“Don’t speak to me, don’t look at me, don’t ask me for anything. I’m taking care of number one and that’s final.”

They’ve introduced “quiet carriages” on Sydney trains now.
The first and last carriages are for people who want absolute peace and quiet while they travel.
To not have the annoyance of listening to people having loud one sided conversations on their phones I guess, or maybe to avoid being seated next to a mother and her seven screaming children.
I suppose there’s good reason for it.
But it strikes me as yet another indicator of how the world is radiating this – “leave me alone” message.

We’re all on the same train.

The other day, for the first time in a very LONG time I sat opposite a man on a train who actually started talking to me.
There was no phone in his hand, or screen on his lap.
We talked the entire trip. It was really refreshing because I had forgotten just how much I enjoy that human interaction with complete strangers.
At one point I actually looked around because I had the feeling that everyone else on the carriage was staring at us as if to say “What! That woman is actually having a conversation with a STRANGER? Madness!”
I thought for a moment perhaps I’d accidentally got on a “quiet carriage” and was breaking the rules, but no…it was just the regular “Can’t talk to other people, must play with my phone” carriage.

What I got from this man, through our conversation was that he was lonely, that he’d been hurt in the past, that he was seeking for something to give his life meaning and that he was preparing to gather his strength and go and FIND it.  (Good on him!)
He didn’t say this of course. We never do, not outright. That would just be too weird.
How similar is he to me…or you, or a million others?
Different skins, different worlds – it seems, but all so very much the same.
He was a musician too.
Small world.

My sixteen year old daughter who is quite shy with people she doesn’t know well, was with me on that train ride.
Afterwards she turned to me and said.
“How can you TALK to a total stranger about all that stuff? How can you carry on a conversation for that long? I wouldn’t know what to say!”

It made me sad to hear her say that.
There is a knack to conversation and it takes a while to learn it.
I’m also sad because unfortunately I think that skill, the art of conversation is being facebooked and twittered right out of humanity.
More and more it’s becoming a world of quick little one liners, abbreviated text speech and LIKE buttons.

And quiet carriages.

Excuse me if I’m annoying you with my talking.
I’m sorry but I seem to be cursed with an affliction here.
It is because I actually do CARE about, and am interested in what goes on in other peoples worlds and heads and I feel a deep need to connect with YOU, yes you, sitting there on the bench next to me.
We’re catching the same train, yeah?
You are a living breathing alive, not dead yet person, sharing the planet with me…? Seeing the same news stories on TV, worrying about the same feelings of insecurity, feeling the same kinds of hopes and desires, laughing, crying, despairing, rejoicing….? Experiencing the same sun today on your shoulders as I am?

Let’s step into the quiet carriage shall we?

About Tracy Lundgren

I am a people watcher,life observer, nature lover, spiritual seeker loving this crazy wild ride that life is taking me on. I am still a blank piece of paper waiting to be filled and that is good.
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