I missed the train – I wasn’t even close. I was still ambling through the carpark trying to wake up when I heard the station announcer caution its departure, and I didn’t even think about running for it. So it left. Without me.
Which gave me a chance to sit. I found a bench next to the new vegie planters and after giving the butter lettuces a look, chose my spot in the sun. There was a cool breeze. The sun was warmer than it had been, and if there had been a meter for the cool breeze versus the sun’s warmth on my back, the needle would have been pointing the sun’s way. By a whisker.
I missed the train and I didn’t care. There was no consequence – at least, none that I knew of. Perhaps in a larger, butterfly-effect kind of flow-on, there might have been some downstream effect to someone or something beyond the abrupt stall in my commute, but for me, in that moment, nothing dire was going to happen. No fallout, no lateness, no disappointment, no anxiety, no apologies. It meant nothing.
It also meant that nothing, and I mean a real kind of nothing, could happen. The kind of nothing where you’re sitting in the sun on a train platform with a soft breeze blowing and nothing can really happen. Nothing IS happening. You’re right in the midst of nothing.
I could have been in the midst of a hundred somethings, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t on my phone, or reading a book, I wasn’t looking at my watch, or planning my explanations and excuses, or deciding what to do next, or wishing I’d worn something warmer, or wondering when the next train would come, because I was doing nothing. I was warm enough, cool enough, seated comfortably enough, and I had a moment. Because I missed the train, and I didn’t have to be anywhere at a particular time.
The world failed to go into freeze frame just for me. There was no camera to turn to, to capture the narration of my thoughts to the audience. The traffic didn’t stop, people around me did not turn into statues. The world continued turning, and birds kept up their chatter. Elsewhere people worked, talked, arranged, arrested, planned, calculated, wondered, measured, hammered, argued and published. Rumbles and hubbub happened in the periphery, but my little spot on the station was untouched.
The sight of the railyards did not offend me. There were treetops enough to enjoy without having to focus on any potential blights on my outlook, but truly, if the difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment, then surely the same goes for railyards? One person’s cabbage is another person’s rose… A train station overlooking railyards is as good a place to sit as any other.
So I sat, with nothing to do until the next train rumbled into the station and I boarded, swept back into the bubbling turmoil of life and activity.
I missed the train, but I did not miss the moment.