Everyday after work, if I want to make it home at a somewhat reasonable hour, I need to rush to catch the train leaving at 8:14, or 9:14 bound for Osaka. Occasionally the hallway leading to and from the platform gates is inundated with a swarm of flesh squirming about with perceived purposeful motion. Though as most are tourists few follow the unspoken rules of human traffic, resulting in a general confusion of where to place one’s feet.
While my coworker, bordering on pedestrian rage, expresses only frustration and irritation with this illogic, I enjoy the chaos this hallway harbors. Perhaps because I am in a rush to beat the clock, I can’t help but imagine myself as a pilot of an Extreme G motorbike as I dodge in and between bodies, eyeing an opening, turning the throttle to the max as I abruptly change directions to zip through a small opening before it closes, swinging wide into a larger opening to speed pass a mass of rank breath, bad fashion, and poor human traffic etiquette to then zoom by in front of them before we collide, precisely reading the flow so as to avoid pulling on the brakes suddenly, drafting a fellow commuter until they make a mistake, swerving around them just in time and without losing speed, and finally crossing the finish line in a flourish as I pull my ticket from my pocket, insert it into the gate, and retrieve it on the other side in one fluid motion.
Though this mad dash through the hall lasts about a minute, all sixty some odd seconds are a thrill. Perhaps I enjoy this fantasy the most because my fellow commuters who rush to catch their trains, like my colleague, rush fueled by stress, irritation, or frustration, with their faces taut with a frown. They clearly wish to be somewhere else. I wonder how many of them realize how their faces look, how miserly they look. I wonder what drives them. I wonder why they can’t see the ridiculousness of rushing for the train, and once realizing that it is ridiculous, having fun with it. Yet I wonder how my face looks to those around me, if my wry smile unsettles them as I pass by, or if none notices me at all. Just a foreigner, just a jerk. Perhaps yes, but at least the fun I have from my jerkiness comes from my own strangeness instead of the strangeness of others.
I also wish I had a dance gun hand in which whomever I shoot immediately starts dancing. A hallway full of dancing, laughing commuters broadens my smile more.