17 November 2006

Winter at last

This is the first morning so far this season that has felt cold, and coincidentally the morning when a little wardrobe disorganisation dictated that I travel without a coat. Waiting for the bus, the rain that was swirling around on the wind ensured that I was pretty damp by the time the bus appeared, a little later than nit should have been. The mornings are now quite dark when I leave home, too, heightening the impression of winter.
At the station, one passenger waits with his bike at the point where the door to the guard's compartment will draw up. His legs are bare, and I cannot imagine he has had an enjoyable ride. I consider asking him, but I've never spoken to him before and breaking the ice with fellow passengers is a process that has to be taken step-by-step. Although that's not how it happened in the first place.
for years I commuted with that famous English reserve, never talking to fellow travellers, until NL broke the ice one evening, introducing himself to a group of us who were sitting silently round a table and then introducing us to one another. Which is, directly, how I met Dorothy, and Chris, and The Master, and Robin; and by using the technique myself made the acquaintances of Andy, John, Julian, Lixin, a nice lady from Argentina, and many others. Nowadays, though, Coach A is populated largely with strangers. I need to practise my networking skills again.
I have started greeting one or two of these strangers whom I have seen regularly. I hope I'll have a new circle of friends before the end of the year. As a first step, I should change the habit of recent weeks and sit at a table for four instead of in a side-by-side pair of seats: facing someone is a good first step, especially compared with today when I am sitting beside a sleeping young woman wrapped in her coat, resting her head against the window with her scarf as a pillow - and she may have been in the same position all the way from Swansea. In the pocket on the seat back in front of her is a copy of A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine, one of those few books whose title is enough to make me want to read it. I won't wake her to ask if she's enjoying it, though.

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