Monday, March 20, 2017

Happiness chastised

I was standing on the platform, waiting for my train. The express pulled in and stopped, but I was not taking that one. I was waiting for the local, that came later. As is often the case, I looked around at the people around me as if it were an idyllic pastime.  My fellow human beings often amuse and surprise me no end.

A young lady in her early twenties was  waving to her friend of a similar age and gender, who was now comfortably seated inside the train by the window. The doors closed and the train started to slowly and deliberately pull out of the station. The young lady continued to gleefully wave at her friend with a big smile on her face. She started to walk with the moving train and then jogged a little to continue waving to her friend. All the while, she was clearly away from the yellow line that demarcates the danger zone, well on the platform to be in any sort of danger. However, she received a sound reprimand from the station attendant with the wireless microphone, and publicly shamed for her act. She ignored him and left the platform as her friend and the train disappeared out of sight with only the tail lamp visible at a distance.

My childhood flashed before my eyes. How many times have I done this in the past when I saw off relatives or friends at the railway station in my own country? My parents or other adults asked me to be careful or held on to my hand when I was too small. But, never was I publicly chastised. 

Of course, I would not even dream of doing such a thing here. And, even the young lady may well stop running after her friend as she approaches her thirties. Just a tight lipped smile and a cursory wave of the hand. Maybe even turn back and start walking away before the train leaves? After all, that's all adults need... to be "happy"...

Gamagori, Japan

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