Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hobbits on the Metro

A strange thing happened to me a few weeks ago. As I was crossing Metro Hidalgo to catch my train, a tiny man running for his train crashed into me. He was wearing a dark red jumper, the kind of thing a hobbit might wear.

The strange thing, however, was his reaction to crashing into a complete stranger. Instead of attempting to avoid collision, he merely threw his arms around his face. He hadn’t been running terribly fast, so once he’d got over the business of crashing into me, he dodged around and was off into the crowd. He hadn’t said a single word.

I stood there for a moment, slightly shocked, and then carried on with my journey. I wondered where he was going and why he was in such a hurry. A lot of companies here close their doors to workers arriving late, so perhaps he was desperate not to lose a day’s pay. Under these circumstances, waiting for the next train or bus is not an option.

However, it did strike me as though this had happened to him before. His casual reaction to my pedestrian blip on his work rush radar seemed to show that he almost accepted it. There’s a lot to accept here: crowded trains, long waits for the driver to pull out of the station and heavy braking which regularly spills passengers all over each other. Maybe he thought I was just another of these everyday obstacles on his way to work.

You have to put up with a lot in order to get from A to B and it seems natural after a while. Whether running the red light or dodging traffic, you get used to it. Perhaps we’re all just hobbits on the Metro, flinging our arms in front of our faces at the first sign of danger. There we are, racing across the concourse in our little hobbit jumpers, arms out front, pulling the wool over our own eyes.

No comments: