Travels Without My Aunt
Between Saturday morning and Sunday evening I was between Eemnes and Coventry, on my way back to campus with a London stopover. Here’s a few observations and thoughts from along the way.
On the ferry, as I unfold my laptop to watch a film, I suddenly realise just how many flatscreen TVs surround me. I count them; only within eyesight I observe 8 of them. If I already cannot avoid screens on the open sea, maybe the age of Big Brother has already arrived?
In Harwich, as I’m waiting for a train, I sit down next to a girl. In her hands she holds a rat. Then I realise she is having a proper conversation with the animal. “Don’t be silly,” she says, “it’s just been a couple of hours of travelling so far. What did you say? Oh, come on, do me a favour, stop whining and eat your food.” Etc. I want to tell her to cut it out, that this rat really can’t talk, couldn’t ever communicate like a human being does. Instead I keep quiet.
I see a couple, the man white, his wife black, their children brown. I’m surprised that this should attract my attention.
I see a woman commenting on a Sunday afternoon football match. I’m surprised that this should strike me.
At the coach station, they’ve stopped bothering about any languages issue any longer. No smoking signs are now posted exclusively in English, and the UK’s new second language, Polish.
On the coach, a little girl behind me continually sneezes as loud as I’ve never heard any person sneeze. “You’re nearly sneezing the roof of the coach!” complains her mother. “Please keep your germs out of my neck,” I think to myself.
Then I got to campus.