Sunday, 11 August 2019

Train trips: Three

This is the third post in a series. The first in the series went up on 27 July 2019. This series is similar in its execution to the ‘collage’ series that started in May 2017.

3 August

Caught the train home from Newtown. Arrived on the platform, after using my Opal card, at 1.25pm and the train pulled up a minute later. As I had been coming down the stairs to the platform two tradies had been descending at the same time. One held a large white plastic bucket containing some items I couldn’t see well enough to identify. The other one carried in his right hand a long paint mixing machine with a spiral on its end. They got on with me and I went downstairs to the lower deck and sat down next to the window on a bench of three seats.

In front of me sat a young man aged in his twenties who had on a grey top with a hood and round black headphones. His hair was short and dark brown and his neck was shaved neatly at the back. I could see one white hair on his head. A few rows in front of this man sat three young women, two of whom had blonde hair. One had brown hair. They were talking and laughing and seemed about to go somewhere to have lunch. I counted 24 passengers on the deck, including myself.

The young man with the headphones got off at Redfern Station as did two young Asian women who had been sitting on the other side of the carriage. At the same station a young Asian woman got on and sat down in one of the seats that had just been made vacant by the women. A young woman also sat down on my bench in the seat next to the aisle and when I got up to get off at Central Station, before I needed to say anything, she stood up to let me out.

I decided to use the toilet at Central and on the way there passed a young woman in a railway uniform talking with an old man with a thin build. She smiled and said something to him in reply to something he had said, although I didn’t hear clearly. In the toilet cubicle I had to forcibly tear a strip of paper off the roll because I couldn’t find the end to pull it out. I also had to wipe the seat as the person who had used the cubicle before me hadn’t put up the seat before urinating.

Outside, once I had washed my hands with soap and water and dried them, I used my Opal card to leave the concourse, then went up on the escalator to the Grand Concourse. On the way inside I passed two women wheeling suitcases out of the building. The one bringing up the rear said to her companion as they walked, “Do we go this way?” I went to the light rail platform and tapped on with my Opal card, then queued to wait. By the clock there were six minutes to go before the tram would leave.

A black man and an older Anglo man, who appeared to be aged in his late fifties, were talking in front of me. The black man was evidently an employee and appeared to be either starting or finishing his shift. The older man wore the distinctive hi-vis vest of tramline employees. At one point he said, “I can’t wait to have grandkids, I really can’t.” The two of them left the queue and I moved forward but before the tram arrived a heavyset, bald man aged in his thirties came and stood next to me, outside my queue, but in front of me. Clearly he wanted, like me, to sit down in the tram.

When it arrived I got on and sat down in one of the seats nearest the door. The bald man sat down opposite me. I saw he had a black bag on his lap with the name of the casino and a logo printed on it. He wore a grey top and blue trousers and black shoes. A group of young people, one of whom was pushing a pram, got on just as the doors were shutting and then made some noises and looked outside, indicating to anyone watching that their companion had missed the tram.

At one of the stops further along a young man wearing brown jeans and a green sunhat with sunglasses propped on it entered the crowded carriage. He had a small white bicycle and an orange Boogie Board. He sat on the bike in the carriage and, at one point, lifted the front wheel up off the floor and span it with his shoe. A sticker affixed to the top tube of the bike’s frame had “Raleigh Racing” printed on it.

The bald man got off with me at the casino; evidently he was just starting his shift. He hesitated to push through the crowd that congealed at the door and I said, just before finally moving forward, “Yeah, well, we’ve got to get off.” He didn’t hear me but the man behind him, an older Asian man, heard me and turned his head momentarily to see who had spoken.

I left the station via the east exit and walked home. Above the light rail station nearer to my place were four men and others who appeared to be their personal trainers. Four men had padded mitts on their hands and the other four were punching them with their gloved fists.

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