Thursday, October 25, 2012

Train time

I can't sit still. Around me there is the quiet roar of the night air whipping past, the dull hum of people conversing, coughing, squeaking in their chairs, turning pages of newspapers and typing away. Typing away, just like I am. Stuck in a place where we can't move. We're just forced to stay complacent, in the same position, for hours on end.

I can't remember how this developed. This need to jump up, move around, feel my legs ambulating underneath my body, rather than sit stationary and curved to befit a seat that is likely too big for my small frame. It's like at some point in my life, my subconscious mind decided I'd filled my quota of hours in a resting position.

No longer was I allowed to be comfortable, I have to test my patience constantly. Even when other people would find the situation less than stressful, for me there's a sense of urgency.

This happens whenever I get on a plane. Or when I go to the theater. Or when I sit in a classroom. It's not necessarily a physical discomfort, but it is. It's as if the more I don't move, the more I need to. I can't even quite describe the sensation. Is it a tickle? Or a pain? Maybe a jolt? None of those things, really.

It's just what it is.

You know those people who develop psychosomatic symptoms - basically everyone, including myself, so you definitely should - out of emotional responses to situations? Well I attribute this lack of comfort to something like that.

I sit here surrounded by people on a train headed to Edinburgh. Everyone is comfortable - or relatively comfortable - and stationary.

Am I the only one who suffers from this? The thought of being stuck in this spot for hours weighs on me like nothing else ever could. It's not even an emotion I can pin down, and I think that's what bothers me the most.

In ordinary life, I am the most terrible sedentary being you will ever encounter. If I have to walk long distances, I either allot a great quantity of time to allow for slow, quiet, contemplative travels. Or I walk fervently and anxiously to get to the place I need to be. But there's no in between. It's always either walking lik a sedentary being or walking to enable myself to be sedentary once again when I return to my home or a classroom or somewhere else I can sit down.

So why is it that when I'm here, forced to be in this chair for hours, that I'm ready to hop up and move just for movement's sake?

Maybe it has something to do with not wanting to adhere to authority, or the restriction that is awarded by a situation like this. Like a bird in a cage, it's not exactly that I am choosing not to go far and wide with my wings, it's that they've been burdened down to the ground by some brass or steel bars.

This train has a low ceiling. It is a pretty stifling cage.

Then I remember why I subject myself to things like this. To the planes - that I"m sure I've written about on many occasions - or the long car rides during which I so desperately long for restroom breaks so that I can actually use the legs that I so often take for granted.

I have a place to go. And to that phrase about being all for the "journey" not the "destination," I scoff quite heartily. Because as greatly as I can appreciate modern invention and my ability to even use these facilities to get from place to place in a reasonable amount of time, I will never be without complaints.

Maybe that's just a character flaw. But complaints are the fruit of conversation. I don't know if anyone believes that other than me, but it certainly sounds good.

It's almost 9 pm now. In two and a half hours - eek, more like three hours - I'll have arrived in Scotland where wonders and friendship await me.

I could type even more analyses about the great problems of sitting still, of being forced to not move more than a few inches and not even stand up properly for hours. But that would be lessening the effect, right? Because Edinburgh is a beautiful place where I'm going to be forced to move around.

Maybe in a couple of days I'll be begging for a seat. So I'd better get my fill right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment