Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Various Train Based Rants.

Once again caught amongst the hassled, the harassed, the homeward bound. 
The air fraught with tension, thick with aggression, and testosterone. Too small a train stuffed to the gunnels with too many people. The more often I travel this way, the more palatable the taste of the stress around me. I feel the stress around me, building in myself incrementally, almost by osmosis. Irregularly see people around me shouting at each other, gesticulating, or just marked deeply, dreadfully, in their faces. The down turned mouths, the deep-set eyes. What gets to me, both on the train and on the tube, is the silence. An almost brooding, loathing, pre-going postal, aggression. An incredible morgue like vow of silence broken only by the occasional conversation carried onto the train, the tube, from outside. Or the incidental loony who insists on expounding their latest theory on where the country has gone wrong this time. Insistent that some one listen to their diatribe, in this case usually me.Just for my friends the spirit of the “Portsmouth Lift Riders” still burns strong in my heart. I find it a terrible trial to NOT engage everyone in conversation. Or to leap from the tube screaming "Banzai!" at the top of my voice. 


It occurs to me that no matter how rich, how famous, or how powerful, in the ultimate reckoning you are in fact completely unimportant. The human race itself can entirely wipe itself out. Destroy the planet, the solar system. It is all eventually unimportant. Environmentalists for ever argue we are causing global warming, total toxicity syndrome, and many other global catastrophes. They omit the fact that the world from it's beginning has passed through many differing climates, changed evolved and survived. The case in fact is the dinosaurs. They “ruled” the earth for far longer than we have been in existence. In radically different (globally warmer) climates. In all likelihood the human race will destroy itself. The earth may be damaged but will re-adjust, re-balance and some other species will quiet happily rise to dominance. In the ultimate reckoning we do not matter. As individuals we fight to attempt to control our little corner of existence. We fight by conforming, or not. We fight by reproducing, or not. We fight by annihilating, or not. Murder, genocide, violence, pacifism, love, hate, everything is insignificant, we just don't matter. From the great Roman leaders through despots, to dictators, humanitarians, and even pacifist like Ghandi, we don't matter. All we are, all we were, all we are destined to be, will wither and fade to dust, everything we represented will cease to be. 
Nothing really matters. 
Your opinion, does not matter. 
Your work, does not matter. 
Your family, your wealth, your status, does not matter. 
You scrimp and save, you graft and toil, and nothing of it matters. You build castles and empires and dynasties, and nothing of it matters. 
So remember that next time your rushing around thinking only about yourself, your own self important little bubble, I must get to work because I am important.  
Remember that as your pushing into me on the tube. Knocking me out of your way. Huffing, tutting, and sighing, because I don't want to walk as fast as you do. Don’t want to crush into the tube just so you can get to your oh so important job or engagement because I am in your way. 
Because I am not as important as you think you are. 
Well I'm not. 
But the news is, neither are you. 
Nothing really matters, all will be reduced to dust eventually. Then what will have been the point of all this? 
So next you’re on the tube, driving your car, on the train, just calm down and be grateful for what little or great measure you've got. Because you don't matter, it doesn't matter, nothing really matters. 

Thursdays Tube.


“This is a district line train to Ealing Broadway”, 
Crowded morning tube, 
Smell of suntan cream, 
Wafts with it, 
Memories of lovers lost and past, 
Reverie only broken by the incessant rustle of the free papers, 
In the tomb like quiet, 
Self conscious laughter, 
As unfamiliar proximity, 
Causes momentary embarrassment. 
“Mind the doors please this train is about to depart!”

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