Public transport is a great observatory for human behaviour.
I notice that most people, myself included, prefer to drown out the noise with earphones of some sort: squeaking wheels, rumbling engines, boring announcements don’t make for a good soundtrack for our commuting lives. We’d rather prefer our favourite music or a podcast or a movie to the cacophony that surrounds us.
Occasionally though you get yanked out of the commuter reverie by someone talking. Often because the voice is at a higher frequency than the captivating sounds in our ears. You turn the volume down, & eavesdrop on this conversation that, at first, sounds like an argument. But no. It’s the local fishing enthusiast, explaining to the tourist-y looking types, about the best spots to go fishing. They’re doing a day trip into the city but want to check out the outdoors tomorrow. No, you don’t need a boat. Walk down that leafy lane, & you’ll see a little path – only if you look carefully. Here, look at what I caught there yesterday. (Loud guard announcement drowns out the rest of the conversation).
Every now & then, I forget my earphones or to charge the laptop or to carry a book. On those commutes, I learn something about the community I live in. I also get to practice my listening skills.
Not because I want to know the juicy details of that story the two women who can’t (won’t?) keep their voices down, but because I have no choice than to keep my mouth shut.
If I approached the same listening-to-speaking ratio in other areas of my life, I wonder what I’d discover?