one day at a time

day 333: Do not board this train

do not board this train © Verena Fischer 2012

do not board this train © Verena Fischer 2012


Precisely a year ago I started to take driving lessons. I actually didn’t have any lessons in the last half year, but still, last year I actually was working pretty hard to get my licence. Then would you believe that I almost forgot to take the theory test? Well, the deadline for passing the test is actually tomorrow, so I was cutting it pretty close when I went to take the theoretical driving test yesterday. The reason why I was avoiding the test was mainly because it involved lots of running around. First I had to go to my driving school in Moabit (going south from here) then I had to go to the testing centre, which is about halfway between here and Tegel airport (north west) and then again to my driving school to give them the piece of paper that I passed. And yes, of course I passed in 5 minutes with no mistakes. If I hadn’t passed, I also would have had to do the whole application process again, including the first aid course. I sure had some good incentive there.

With all this running around I took 6 subway trains waiting in several stations along the way. Lots of opportunities to take pictures. And then the oddest thing happened: At Leopold Platz there was an announcement “Do not board this train” and then a goods train carrying dirt stopped at the station! I’ve certainly never seen anything like it at a subway stop. The train had a bright orange locomotive and was probably coming from a building site.

For me the picture is very rich, since it combines lots of expressive postures with bored indifference to the goods train, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. Additionally there is also another strange part to it. The girls in the centre of the picture were on the same train as me before and were sitting on the other side. The girl right in the middle was telling the other girl how her mother went to get a job in another country and just left her 3 children behind in a children’s home. The other girl was being really insensitive and was going on how mean and terrible that was and how the girl’s mother wasn’t a real mother then. It was so harsh I expected the girl to start crying, because she was still trying to defend her mother’s decision. She became ever more quiet, until she finally managed to change the topic. What she was saying next was that her mum freaked because she found out that the girl smoked a cigarette and was telling about how her mum made her pray for several hours. It was probably also an attempt to convey that her mother still cared and that she was a good person after all. There were so many layers in this conversation in just a few sentences that it really made me think about morality, religion and even the strange ways of 15 year old girls interacting.

The strange thing is that the knowledge about this conversation really changes how I see this picture and how I interpret the girls’ postures and the facial expression of the girl on the right.

And again I can conclude that you only need a few minutes on a subway to find a topic for an entire sociological study. Strange isn’t it?

4 responses

  1. I’m suddenly realizing that I’m missing a lot of interesting stories by listening to my music in the subway !!

    July 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    • You sure do, but you also miss a lot of moronic conversations that would make you want to punch people 😉 God, the stories I’ve heard on the subway …!

      July 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm

  2. What a bizarre conversation…
    I wish I would have studied this image more closely before I read your description, because now (as you say) it really defines how I perceive the whole…

    July 22, 2012 at 3:09 am

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