Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A streetcar named desire

Lame Verse


Constrained by time frame

The cursed words won’t cooperate

I’ll be put to shame


What’s worse than lame verse

That assaults all my senses

And makes me terse


So as an alternative I’ll talk about yesterday


A streetcar named desire


I had an early appointment in the city. So rose early and made my way the nearest tram stop. Even at eight in the morning parking was at a premium so I squeezed my way into a space unusable by larger cars and walked to the platform. It was only the second stop from the end of the line but already all seats were taken, so I validate my ticket and squeezed in between the other commuters with some measure of back support. I had a pole to hang onto and after the tram lurched away with at least fifteen stops to go I glanced at my fellow commuters. I could have been their grandfather, literally only, as I recognised none of them. I was the oldest traveller on the tram. I used to be a commuter twenty years ago. Lurching along, observing and noting the little activities that would one day be stories. It all came back. Yes, these were the same people I had travelled with before or perhaps they are their children. Some things had changed though. Within arms reach there were six people on their mobiles, two on their iPads, and a solitary one on her Kindle. All but one mobile was standing. One was listening to music as she was in another world connected by an earpiece and unspeaking.

Rain was forecast. But that was not heeded, bare legs and toes were on the menu. Closest to me were a couple, their words inaudible as they spoke the language of love. Her eyes never left him and her lips were in motion but not one was I privy to and I only saw the back of his head. It seemed that all eyes but mine were unseeing, none looked at me and all but the couple linked in love looked at each other.

The tramcar stopped frequently and soon even the driver knew we could take on no more and must have put the full sign up as he slowed at the stops but kept moving.

Not far from me was a ticket vending machine. It was busy and none but one used currency to pay their fare or to load credit to their ticket. So much had changed in the intervening two score years when the conductor with tickets and machine at the ready would walk the tram and ply his trade.

My attention was alerted to an incident, the couple had separated; he had made his way to the doors. Damn, I had missed their parting! I could have written a story of their silent gentle love, why hadn’t they co-operated and kissed lingeringly for me to see? Perhaps they argued as he wouldn’t set the wedding date? What lame excuse did he make?

The tram lurched around the bend we were approaching the centre of the city, the commuters were getting restless, talk was terse, the working day was starting. The rain was drizzling down as the tramcar reached my stop and as I got off I wondered whether any one else had been observing me.


  1. I like this contemplative little vignette. Just yesterday I was complaining to a friend. "When did I get old?" I asked her. Honestly I'm not all that old but some days I sure feel like it and when you think back at how much has changed in the last twenty years... Well you realize that nothing really has. Awesome piece here.

  2. I rather suppose that nobody really notices me. Or a least I suppose that I'd rather that were the case.

  3. If you insist on living in a city which still uses trams as a transport system you have to expect this kind of thing:)

  4. Good job you weren't on a tram in Helsinki. You would have got:
    "What are you staring at?"
    "What you listening to?"
    And you would have had to watch yourself as you all got off.

    You are lucky to be able to concentrate on the romance around you.

  5. If anyone had been observing you, I'll bet you'd have looked one another in the eyes, even if only by accident. You know everyone else is busy not looking so as to be polite and avoid the loonies. Having gotten caught by the loonies a time or two, I sympathize.

  6. Khaalidah, You are right everything and nothing has changed, it is just that you become more invisible as you get older.

    Tempest, you had better stop wearing that Barbie doll dress then.

    Rallentanda, Sydney has much more eye candy on their trains. I had thought about writing on that.

    Altonian, fortunately even at 183cms I am almost invisible. Had anyone stared at me they would think I was looking out the window.

    Alice, you are right, but the girl in love was the only one that looked at me...briefly. Her eyes seem to say "Sorry old man, I am taken."

  7. Do many people actually look outside their own world..observing is a quiet sport..but all the fun is in the little things..I bet any bus is full of at least two observers..question is do they see each other..

  8. Jae, we are all different. Some of us are observers, some not. The secret is in keeping that trait secret. The last thing I need is someone saying "What are you looking at, Stupid!" I don't think, "Researching my next blog" is an acceptable answer.

  9. LOL. Like it never crossed her mind that you were taken, too. At least at some point.

  10. It is amazing how many people always have some electronic device they are looking at constantly! Better that they should be on that tram with someone else driving than checking it while they drive!