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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Screen Seperation (or Strangers on Rails)

Early morning, sun rising lazily but barely visible through the early morning fog. The dew rest on the surrounding surfaces and this cold chill fills the air.
Not a lot of people are in the train station, but enough to form a small grouping. the rails gleam in the hazy light while everyone grabs onto their luggage awaiting the arrival of the train. The PA rings and the voice of the lady inside announces the arrival of the train.
The red beast approaches, a two story train bespeckeled with people sitting separately from each other.
The train stops and opens it's doors with that familiar sound of pneumatic release greeting those standing outside in the morning cold to the warmth of that red leviathan. In seconds lovers exchange kisses, relative exchange hugs and hasty farewells. The travellers rush inside, all grasping their luggage and movie with zombie like coordination, it's still too early in the morning even the air itself is lazy at this time.
She makes her way down the corridor finds an empty seat and makes herself comfortable, the train is empty so she places her bag on the adjacent seat. "It will be an hour till I reach my destination, might as well get some work done". From her smaller bag she pulls out her pink Toshiba placing it carefully on her lap, and put s the bag next to her feet. She un zips the bigger bag sitting next to her like that accompanying passenger she doesn't have, and pulls out a paper bag that has a sandwich she had bought earlier from the store in the station.
She remembers the lady that sold her the sandwich, a very friendly portly woman in her early sixties. She has that smile that seems like it has been there forever and dimples that accent the sparkle in her eye. She proceeds with her job with such diligence and satisfaction that anyone who buys something from the store can't help but be amazed at that admirable woman.
She picks a cheese sandwich, looks like it could be a good breakfast she picks a snack bar, nuts, a healthy snack is better, chocolate just won't cut it this early in the morning, after all she has a long day ahead of her today. She gives them to the store clerk, the sandwich in its paper bag and the bar afterwards. The clerk asks if she wants a bag, she is already carrying two and a plastic bag will just waste the environment more, she shakes her head in negation and says a simple "thank you".
She has opened her pink laptop now and turned it on, grabbing a bite or two from the cheese sandwich while it boots. "Tastes good enough" but she isn't worried about taste now, more into her work. She opens the document and starts typing away. She pauses every now and then to glance at the green landscape whizzing by, trees follow trees across the window next to her. The railway passes through the woods it's surrounded from both sides by trees at times. As the train moves out to a more open area she notices the vast green plains to her side, filled with the familiar side of electric windmills, the familiar sight of the presence of man. Simple devices rotating in the backdrop of an otherwise flat green space. Proof that humans have yet overtaken another part of this earth for their own.
She directs her attention back to the screen. "This paper's deadline is closing in" she rummages through her bag and pulls out her notebook. She opens it and checks her notes, scribbling more in. Her thoughts are volatile, if she doesn't right them down they would evaporate. She strokes her chin thinking; proceeding to type afterwards.
"More words in, this paper doesn't look like it's going to end. What is missing in my research" she passes her right hand through her golden blonde hair and looks up only for her eyes to meet his. He looks confused trying to find a proper seat in an all empty train. He doesn't want to sit facing backwards. He politely asks he "mind if I sit here" she doesn't mind, but then she is more occupied with her work than everything. More scribbling with the pencil on a heavily highlighted page.
He makes himself comfortable now not noticing her more into the Nintendo ds he got out of his pocket. Something to kill the time, he has headphones on, video games are always better with music playing. They're sitting at opposite sides facing each other yet not really facing anyone but the screens they are using.
He is into catching that next pokemon to beat that annoying gym leader he's been trying to beat all week. She has to finish this research before it has passed it's deadline.
The train darts across the countryside and both of them headfirst in their own digital worlds. A million degrees of separation between the both of them. The only other time they make eye contact is when the conductor passes by and they gave her their tickets to stamp. Then they both look at the screen.

She types away on her bright pink Toshiba while he mashes more buttons, "why won't a great ball work this time, it's what caught it last time before my save got erased. Onward the two storey red train goes through the beautiful countryside and heads into the main station. They all gather their stuff and everyone in the rain hurriedly heads outside he goes left she goes right and they both disappear into the sea of people heading down the stairs.
The station below bustling with life people going left and right more like the machines they just got off, one stops to glance at a shop window every now an then, but the rest constant as a drum beat in a jazz guitar solo. All following one hasty chaotic rhythm that gets them going from one spot to another. For some reason camel's "god of light revisited" starts playing in her head and pushes her to join the frantic pace that is overwhelming the bustling station.
She proceeds to move into the see of people towards the next train, he has long disappeared into the depths of the vast station and just as fast as they met they got separated not even getting a chance to notice each other from blocking their sense with technology. Like that they get on different trains and head on to lead different lives on different rails.
She heads up on the platform and waits for her connecting train. It arrives exactly on time, everything here runs on time, no one can afford to be late. The train empties its contents, businessmen in suits, men and women of different ages all heading out to work, a policewoman puts on her hat as she walks out the door, another man digs in his pockets for that pack of lucky strikes, he has enough time to smoke one before getting on the next train, she waits for everyone to leave then climbs on the train; looks for a seat and finds an empty one opposite this young man reading a book on his digital reader, while slightly nodding his head back and forth to the music he is listening to through these giant headphones on his head.
She sits opposite him, takes out her pink Toshiba and thinks, while taking the last bite of her cheese sandwich " I need to finish this paper already"
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

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