Neither here nor there: Train rides

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a long train journey.

I’m always brought back to scenes in movies where the protagonist ponders on what could have been, what will be, while some sappy love song play in the background. I imagine the same thing while on those train rides. I’m livened with thoughts of my past, decisions I’ve made, people I’ve met, things to come. There’s a whole array of thoughts that flash through my head. And to think I’ve brought a book.

I look out the window and wonder about the provincial life down below. How do they live? How many kids do they have? Do they have a TV? What are they eating? Are they dreaming of a better life? Are they looking up and wondering about the people in the train?

How small we really are in this world populated by billions. I know this is sounding philosophical. I rub my eyes and look on at the Chinese couple sitting a few rows ahead of me with their screaming child.

It’s weird to be sitting on a moving platform. I am moved through time and space, and yet I am so still. The world is happening around me and I remain motionless.

The blinking digital dashboard announces that we are now approaching our first stop: DONGGUAN. People move about to get their things, luggage, presents for loved ones.

In a few minutes, I’ll be scrambling to get up, join the pack of rushing passengers. I capture this last few moments I can remain still, lost in my thoughts.

“GUANGZHOU!” the conductor cries out. Here we go.


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