November 05, 2008


I have had the opportunity over the last few days to dip my toe into a different culture. I have been attending the ad tech conference in New York and have been riding the commuter train to the city.

At first I thought looked at the career commuters as having a studied self conscious indifference to the people around them. But with each train ride I realized that it was an evolved culture of isolation.

For the most part "personal space" is separated from physical space. Which is good since you are afforded damned little physical space. And yet in a sense personal space is greatly expanded beyond the physical to encompass the entire space of the car.

Save for the sounds of the train on the tracks the ride is made in an absolute silence that would be the envy of librarians everywhere. Any who dare to break that silence are given the stare of death or directly admonished to stop.

I sat by the window today and watched the dismal world along the tracks zip buy. Something that I am sure confirmed my status as a non-commuter. At one point our train caught another and began to over take it. I saw in the window of that train to young boys probably about ten years old, dressed in white shirts and ties with a look of excitement that told me they were strangers in this strange land as well. At the two trains raced for a while they eventually came buy my window as their train was pulling ahead. A moment later as my train began to move faster our windows aligned and we shared a wave and a laugh.

I think the guy in the seat next to me was pissed. He grumbled and rattled his paper. In the end I think he decided to let it go as a newbie mistake.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:12 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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