It has been well documented that I enjoy my daily train trip to and from work each day. I love the variety of people, looking out the window, listening to music or just sitting back and making unfair judgements on my fellow commuters.
School holidays have come and gone, but with it brings a whole new facet to observations of people. Yes, school holidays sees children on the train. To most, having children on the train is a nightmare! not to me, however. You can learn so much from watching children and their care-givers on the train.
The first type of children you see are those on a day trip with Nan & Pop. Nan & Pop are usually conservativly dressed, as are the children. Backpack neatly packed with pre-wrapped sangers, musli bars and a bottle of water, which will be replaced by fanta at the first opportunity. The children usually take it in turns to sit on Pop’s lap while he points out benign items of interest – trucks waiting to cross the train tracks, boats on the river, historical places of interest. It is evident that the children will be having a lovely day out and an ice-cream, if they are well behaved. Nan & Pop relish the time with the younglings, the bonds between them all are heartwarming. Little do the children know that they will look back on these simple times with great joy, remembering the day that Nan & Pop took them on the train to the big city!
The second group of children are those forced to come into work with their parents, as they have absolutely no other options for childcare while mum & dad are at work. Dad’s foot taps rapidly on the train floor, checking his blackerry and watch, waiting anxiously to see if his boss will allow his daughter just to sit in the office for one day. He suddenly realises he has started to resent one of the reasons why he works so much to start with – to provide his daughter with a better life. She senses her dads stress. She does not care though – for the trip into and from town, her dad is hers. She picks up his arm and wraps it around her, making a memory of the smell of his aftershave and the wonderful day she went into town, with daddy at his work.
The last group of children on the train are the ratty bogan kids. They usually get on just outside of the city in one of the entertainment areas. Ratty, chip-eating children huddle around loud, cheap electronic devices as they scratch their sunburned shoulders and cheeks. Mum, stressed to the hilt from taking half the kids in the street out tries to settle in for the long trip back to the outer suburbs. She cradles her youngest as she mentally goes through the motions of feeding her brood and the evening routine. She dares not imagine what her life would be like, if things were different.
Children on the train. What more could a judgemental blogger want?