Judging where to stand on a (crowded) railway station platform such that when the train arrives you are first through the doors is a practised art. Although it is a skill made redundant in modern underground stations and in some other countries, where the introduction of platform screen doors (PSDs) eliminates the element of risk by funnelling commuters in a tediously orderly, first-come first-served channel.
However, while most UK commuter platforms remain PSD-free, an interesting distribution pattern can be witnessed, becoming more distinct the closer to the time of the next train’s arrival. Dense clusters of seasoned commuters jostle and congregate like swarming Mayfly at uniformly-spaced intervals along the platform; whilst irregular itinerants, mistakenly believing that they are inhabiting a peaceful Shangri-La, spread themselves thinly in the void-like gaps between. Using Cartesian coordinates, a scatter graph of commuter experience plotted against the position of the train doors would reveal a strong positive correlation between the two variables.
Long experience sees me standing in the same position each morning, as close as I can approximate where carriage seven will draw to a halt, alongside a weary cluster of familiar faces, near to the site where the young couple with whom I had an unjustified prejudice stood, but where they no longer stand.
There is an entire working life history written along this thin edge of station concrete. Moments of inspiration and moments of desperation all experienced within the same small square footage of railway premises.
Like the suburban station equivalent of a Hollywood Walk of Fame, the vestigial imprint of my footprints marks my designated place in life.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree occupies a small plot on Life’s scatter graph.