8:42, 8 carriages.
Always plenty of seats, but don’t tell the people who sandwich themselves onto the 8:37, which was two carriages short.
Fred the guard, or ‘customer manager’. Hair in a high bun. Click. Thanks very much. Click. Have a happy day. Click. Lovely weather. Click. Have a nice day dear (to a women). Thank you sir (to me), have a nice day. Constantly smiling, everyone is smiling back. It’s hard not to.
Must be a pain clipping all these tickets. Most people will be back to monthly tickets on Friday.
The pushing-sixty balding men. Sitting not too close, one off the edge of the seat. They know each other, I see them most days. One grey, one greying, same cropped beard.
The smiley couple. Her, playing with her closed phone in a self-soothing manner. Legs crossed away from each other, but flirting.
The used-book bookworm. That book has been read dozens of times. Loved by each reader.
Is this over yet! No phone, no book, no bag. He’ll probably buy his lunch today.
A pride of schoolboys in matching blue uniforms. Huddled together for safety?
The man-spreader. No one sits next to him, if they can avoid it. Someone is standing by the seat with crossed arms glaring at him. Reluctantly. He sits up.
The standing man with a backpack who seems unaware that he has an extra 15cm behind him. The annoyed woman behind him not saying anything.
Most head are down, looking at phones. Some are listening to music or podcasts. A handful read books. Even fewer just sit.
A smattering take in the view along the harbour edge. That’s me.