Monday, December 22, 2014

Short Fiction: The Lifeless Commute

Like most people now a day, I generally live in my own little world when out and about. Between our own theme music constantly blaring in our ears or the constant electronic connections to the Internet and the comforting texts from friends, the world almost seems quiet. The random conversation with a stranger does not exist as it did years ago. Sitting on a commuter train out of New York City, the train is packed yet seems lifeless, if a pin were to be dropped it would be heard, of course that is if you don’t have headphones on. There is no casual conversation with passengers sitting next to you, across from you, or in front of you. Everyone is consumed and content in their own little bubble world anchored by their cell phones and iPods. Occasionally a passenger will escape from their manufactured world, eye’s wondering to their surroundings taking notice of the other bubbles in the tin car, also known as the train. As I look out the window at the darken landscape, nothing but a reflection of the brightly lit train interior shows. In this mirror reflection of reality, lays a different perspective, visually and mentally. As you look into the reflection, a barrier is created, almost as if you are observing now, not participating in the lifeless commute. This mirrored reality allows you to create stories for the passengers surrounding you. Noticing various movements one makes as they sit. How many times someone will glance at their phones or for that matter how long they look away from their phones. Some of the faces will broadcast to the world the passenger’s day, whether it was exhausting or satisfying. Others sit stoic as if any expression would show humanity, a weakness. It’s amazing so many people in such a confined space don’t speak to each other. Is it not in our very human nature to be social? Due to this lack of communication, stories are created based on the visual observations of fellow passengers on a long commute. What story do you project in that darken refection of the moving landscape onto the stillness and silent train interior?

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