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Interest in the mundane.

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Sometimes the adjacent trains zoom by so fast you can still see the other side, uninterrupted, just through two additional windows instead of one.

Passing Trains

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125th Harlem Street is my favorite train stop. Today, I watched some best friends dance around and say their goodbye. “Love people, use things.”

Recorded with the Steady app.

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In the belly of Grand Central this morning.

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“Hope” The sunset sits amid the statue’s arms as the train stops at Harlem 125th street.
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The goal, Thomas says, is to create “a beautiful disruption into a daily routine.”

Nothing like viewing public art on the train commute to work. I wish Metro North did something like this.

The Amtrak Corridor

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Grey over Blue on Flickr.
Grey over Blue on Flickr.
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Train Watching

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Image by Wells Baum

“There are few places more sedentary than a train car; there are also few better ways to see the world.” — Ben Crair

Riding the train is like being in a moving library with crowds of people sitting in proximity to each other but deeply immersed in their own thoughts.

The train paces itself like the mind. Ideas flow the longer they sit, building stronger connections as the train swiftly passes over the tracks. Bad ideas get tossed when the train wobbles left to right, like plunging water from the ears.

We have no choice but to sit and let our minds wander on the train. Constriction forces creativity. The luckiest passengers get a window seat to watch the world zoom by. Beautiful reflections bounce off the surrounding trees and walls of graffiti, temporarily tattooing the faces and arms of some passengers. Everyone shines like an artist, famous for 15 seconds.

“The road is better than the end.” — Miguel de Cervantes

The train travels ahead with time, as do our fast-paced lives. We actually soak up the entire riding experience but mentally star the highlights. All of a sudden the future and the past become the present.We are here now.

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The Ebb and Flow of Train Chatter

If you take a snapshot of train chatter you’d see that it gradually rises from the morning on, peaking in the evening. Even the uptick in sound between 7 and 8AM is noticeable.

People care less about you and more about their own privacy in the morning. Direct conversations are virtually disallowed, as are phone calls. Texting is the preferred method of all interaction.

The most significant noise makers in the mornings are the squealing and grinding of the train tracks competing against the loud overhead fans.

As the afternoon approaches the train gathers less people but louder mouths. Feet make their way on the seats. Cell phones ring. Headphone music gets louder. Laissez-faire defines the afternoon.

The evening, especially Friday evening, is a bit of a free for all. The work stops, the drinks pop, the mobile fingers get more aggressive as people respond across social networks and like everything in their feed. Everyone knows each other’s weekend plans.

People unwind as the days lives on; the rules get looser with time. Life resets daily with the emergence of noise.

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There are few places more sedentary than a train car; there are also few better ways to see the world.

Ben Crair