All week I’ve had this song in my head, Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains. As far as earworms go it’s not too bad as it’s a great song. I’ve been humming it as I go about my work and it’s been there in the background sitting on the train on the way to work.
Sitting on the train or tram or any other regular mode of public transport is a genre of its own. For me at least it represents an altered state of mind, a condition of near stasis as you transition from one reality to another. In between you are in a form of limbo. You have stepped onto the conveyor belt, and having done so there’s nothing more you can do until your destination is reached. I find that relaxing. It’s a period of calm and contemplation. On the way in I slowly prepare for the day ahead, though I’m pretty mellow about it. On the way home I shed all that and become H who lives at home.
This morning was a little different because tomorrow is a public holiday, and on Saturday is the grand final. It may be my imagination, but it feels more relaxed, even festive. Friday casuals are worn Thursday this week, and draped around the necks of too many people are scarfs of yellow and black. To top it all off Spring is here, the morning clear and mild.
I feel some of that vibe. I look forward to a day off. Though my team isn’t playing, I’m excited by the prospect of the big match Saturday. Melbourne seems a more open place, more receptive and social, and I feel that seep into me and I become a carrier. At work this morning I’ve stopped to chat about the footy a few times already (it’s not yet 9am), and teased one of the guys wearing Richmond colours. Tonight I’m out for a grand final eve-eve drink, and if I’m bold will pop along to the London Tavern later, where I’ve been invited to a Richmond coterie group function.
But back to the train. I’m in casual too, and feel utterly myself this day. I’m in jeans and a black leather bikers jacket. There’s a bracelet around my right wrist picked up somewhere in my travels, and for once a leather thong around my neck with a tiny Egyptian scarab beetle. I’m bearded, more bearded than I have been for years except when on one of my long trips. My hair is longer than it has been lately. I feel independent and broad shouldered, always a key to my peace of mind.
Next to me there is a Asian girl who has sat next to or opposite me just about every day for the last couple of weeks. It’s been so consistent that it has begun to make me wonder. One day walking up Swanston street from the station we passed each other going opposite ways after she had taken the tram to get ahead of me. Our eyes met with one of those unexpected jolts.
This morning at Balaclava a new woman to the train gets on. My eyes are drawn to her at first by her straw coloured hair. I sense she is attractive, and she is, but as I peer at her I find she reminds me of someone I knew once and haven’t thought of for many years, Julia, someone I liked and got on well with until one night a very strange set of circumstances culminated in us never seeing each other again.
Then at Flinders street the train halts and we all alight and go our separate ways. I stop for a coffee and a bear claw, and then to work.