Traffic terminals: Soulless or magical?
Both, in my opinion.
It’s like this: For the most part, they are soulless. Where I went to uni, it was common to see hordes of people clustered into a small bus stop. To me it was dull to sit on a bus and watch a dozen or so people hop on, tapping their bus passes as they went. I mean, that’s prime people-watching, and I could easily spend the time amusing myself with peoples’ outfits, but generally it’s a quick impersonal transaction. Also, that’s not to say I constantly criticized peoples’ outfits: I’d just sit and watch and think.
How many people do you see though, clustered around with earphones in and bus passes ready? Lots. This, for me, is the soulless side of travel. As for the zombies: well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can think of numerous times when my mind was zombie-fied with a test or essay or upcoming exam. Now return to the university, and the hordes. See? Generally not a friendly magical place.
Once upon a time there was a Person at the bus stop, and this Person was familiar to me, despite not seeing the Person for about four years.
This, to me, was magic.
And so we spoke, and then we didn’t speak – actually there’s a whole pattern here and I won’t bore you with it – and from that one totally random meeting I got back in touch with an old friend. I’m not much for luck or destiny or fate, but I always did find it interesting that we were in the same place at the same time. Maybe there was just a touch of magic around that day.
A similar little tale: I can think of several times I’ve been at a bus stop and seen someone, an old acquaintance I liked, and we’ve had a bit of a chat while bus-waiting. This is the magical side of travel, the brief catch-ups with someone you haven’t seen in ages, the way your life thread weaves briefly with theirs. This is the magic, for me: that you might see someone, and talk, and this lifts a crappy day. Only you don’t know who you’ll see, or when, and so it’s always surprising.
Oh, to be a fly on that wall one day.