My dress builds a little community

On a crowded peak hour train yesterday the lady opposite me asks me about my dress.  She tells me she likes it, she likes how colouful it is.  I laughed and said I felt a bit out of place in the city where everyone is wearing black, but I felt that I needed some colour to brighten up my day.  We chatted for a minute or so about where I'd bought it from, where it was made.

And then I pointed out that another lady opposite me was wearing bright red so she wasn't wearing typical city colours either.  The three of us chatted for a few minutes about how crowded the train was.  The lady who initiated the conversation had only moved from China two years ago and wanted to know if Sydney was always so busy, so crowded.  The lady in the red top started talking about how busy she found Sydney when she moved from Queensland 15 years ago.

THEN the bloke sitting next to me starts talking about how much slower the pace of life was in Israel where he had come from.  The conversation drifted in a general bemoaning of the lack of community, how no-one had time for one another anymore, how it was hard to trust strangers (the phrase 'but someone might follow you home' was mentioned) Yet, there we were.  Our own little community.  For a few minutes.  And then it was my stop.  There was a sense of disappointment from our little group.  That our community had ended.

My daughter was horrified when I told this story at the dinner table.  But how embarrassing Mum.  Why were you sitting on the train talking to people you didn't know?  I said, but that was why it was so great.

So unexpected.


achan said…
What a lovely start to the day. You brought back memories of my mums morning to commute to work on the Sydney trains when I was at school. She built up a friendship with an Irish woman, Mary, and then another Mary and their little group gradually grew into 14. They travelled in the same car everyday for around four years. They celebrated birthdays, Christmas, promotions and many morning teas!! She was very much apart of their lives though I don't ever remembering my mum meeting these people on the weekends. After she lost her job she kept in contact with many of these friends, Mary is now living back in Ireland and mum emails her now.
louisap said…
love it!
I find that knitting in public can have the same effect :-)
Rodney Olsen said…
What a beautiful story.

Thanks for putting a smile on my face to start the day.
Anonymous said…
Hi Jenny

A super story. I commute into London each day and occassionally enjoy similar conversations with 'strangers' and it always makes my day. We are designed for community and there is an absence of it in busy 21st Century UK.

Love your dress by the way. Where did you buy it from?

Hope you have a good week.

Linda :)
Sarah said…
I love this story (and your dress). I do miss the odd random conversation on public transport from when I lived in Perth. It really made my day when I was in the mood for it and there were great people (and not creeps) to talk to. Other days I felt a bit like Gwyneth Paltrow's character in Sliding Doors - "I'm sure you're not a psychopath...I just want to read my book."

I had to laugh at your daughter's response. I remember the days as a teen and pre-teen when my mum embarrassed me just by appearing in public. ;)

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