Getting “hit on” on the train

I just got back from my first ever work trip – and it was to Madrid so it was quite awesome. But I’m very relieved to be home again. My husband’s missing but the place is lovely and quiet, and I get to be in my favourite solo spot – lying on the mat by the window.

While on the way back, I had to figure my way out of my least favourite airport and wait 20 minutes for a train that I didn’t plan to take. A lady asked if it was alright that she sat in my four-seater area. I said of course, and shuffled my luggage closer in, so she had more space.

Then it was silence for about 10 minutes as I fumbled with my phone and also tried to figure out if the familiar voice I keep hearing was indeed from someone I know.

As the lady about to check our ticket approached us, she warned me before, and all of a sudden we started to get talking.

As part of what I’ve been learning from The Happiness Project (this book is totally growing on me), I’ve taken the waiting time for transport to be factually terrible but mentally ok. I’ve got time, why do I need to get worked up about it?

And I was pleased that the lady and I started talking, because social activities make people happy and it totally made my day filled with simply travelling from one place to the other, trying to get home.

Not only that, we hit off really well. I said things like “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but…” and it was a really lovely conversation. She initiated exchange of contacts, I suggested since she’s in town temporarily, we could hang this weekend while the husband’s away, etc.

And she said yes, how about tomorrow?

Isn’t this just ridiculously random but wonderful?

I’m also starting to get slightly worried that she isn’t contacting me because she has my contact and the power to reach out… Hope it doesn’t take 3 days. 😉

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People you meet on a weekday afternoon

Have you ever been unemployed? Because it turns out the non-working folks are a little weird in many ways.

I’ve been unemployed for a while, but I mean really unemployed and idle. I’ve been out and about a little the past few weekdays during office hours, and I haven’t got nice observations.

  • The Angry Mother

First I witnessed a lady basically permanently unhappy. She was yelling at everybody she met, while her daughter follows her around embarrassed. The daughter also looks way old enough to look after herself, but the mother decides to be in charge and yell at anyone she thinks is being unfriendly to her daughter, which was everybody.

  • The Yelling Match

Then a lady decides to yell at another for blocking the way in the bus. The one yelled at remained calm, but after the yelling lady left, she vented out her frustrations about how she could’ve gotten out earlier, if she knew she needed some time to get to the door.

  • The Is-It-Thursday?

Then there was a lady on the train who asked another lady whether it was indeed Thursday that day. Yes, it was. She later asked questions to confirm, like whether it was Wednesday the day before and whether it would be Friday the day after. (Somebody call Rebecca Black!)

  • The Smiley With The Paper Fan

And then there was a guy who sat creepily at a corner, with a slight grin at himself while his headphones were on. He later proceeded to take out this ancient oriental multifold paper fan. He tried to flip it open, but failed. He continued to grin just so slightly, and used his finger tips to run through it slowly and open it up, and then fan himself. The air-conditioning was working very well in that train on that day.

  • The Tweezers Guy

This afternoon, I rode the train sitting opposite a guy with tweezers in his hands. I kid you not, he had the tweezers in his hands for at least half an hour. With one hand, he felt around for his invisible goatee, and with the other, he tweezed at his chin again and again. No amount of staring got him down. This went on for the entire journey.

Now is it just me, or are unemployed people a little extraordinary?!

Fahrrad fahren (to ride a bicycle)

I’ve started a new thing recently. I’ve started to cycle to work.

Where I’m from, there are only several types of people on a bicycle:

  • Anybody if the bicycle is in a park where cycling is leisure
  • Kids cycling to school
  • Older folks cycling their grandchildren to school/childcare
  • Foreign maids who are cycling to go grocery shopping
  • Foreign talent who are cycling to their nearby offices

So cue a girl in office attire and flats who clearly looks local – on a bicycle – to work. I’ll admit I haven’t seen one of those myself. Personally I don’t think it’s a big deal, but it’s been terrible because it only made me more conscious of how bicycle-unfriendly this city is (cyclists don’t have the right of way on the roads or pedestrian paths, and they don’t have their own designated cycling paths!), but amazing because it gives me the buzz that work doesn’t.

Basically I’ve been trying to create my own buzz since work hasn’t been giving me a buzz. (Today was a much better day though.)

I’m also restricted in attire as I’ve only limited number of top-pants combinations, and I’ve to wear the same pair of flats more often than I’d like to. I’ve also been teased to death by my colleagues.

Again – where I’m from, it’s neither seen as smart nor cool to cycle to work.

Nevertheless, the advantages far outweigh the issues. For instance, I hadn’t realized how much I’m saving in terms of bus fare. I’ve realized that it takes about 50-60% of the time needed compared to public transport. I’ve been feeling amazingly refreshed and awake when I arrive in the office. (Also doesn’t hurt that S thinks it’s sexy being sporty and eco-conscious. Clearly he’s not from here.)

How else has it changed me? It’s become sheer torture waiting for public transport. Thankfully I’ve got a good book to read that I’m bringing around on the days I’m not cycling to work.

This makes me think of a song…

I want to ride my bicycle!