Anthony Vercoe

Screenwriter/Writer/Actor

61 (0)404 948294

Diversity of Public Transport

A minor emergency saw me on the train to Campbelltown the other day. Now, I'm not opposed to public transport, quite the contrary. The area I live in boasts clean and reliable buses and trains (if you don't compare them to Swiss or German services) populated by polite, respectful passengers. In a word, boring. The service I was fortunate enough to ride on that day was a lesson in the diversity of Sydney, its people and their customs.

Although I was grateful to the passengers who listened to the music through their headphones loud enough to share with me, I thought I might look for a seat where I could get some reading done. I found an empty one in a quiet area of the carriage and spread out my paperwork. Luckily for me the ride was smooth as I stuck to the seats and floor. Neither my papers nor I were going anywhere! There a unique aroma to challenge my olfactory range as well; I think it's best described as urine of transient. 

I remember catching suburban services regularly in the late eighties and I'm pretty sure this particular train hadn't been cleaned since then. Luckily for me – I do hate the smell of cleanliness and the products providing it.  

By Liverpool, I had been entertained for some time by a rock medley from the eighties being played at full volume by a group of unwashed gentlemen who clearly weren't at all shy that they couldn't carry a tune. Singing at the top of their lungs, the fact they didn't know the words wasn't a concern either. One must admire their confidence.

After that, I took notes on parenting from a woman in pink track suit pants and ugg boots who referred to her four offspring (who looked very different from one another) as f$%*# little c&%$! I will try this bold technique on my own daughter the next time she has the audacity to ask to go to the toilet.

Another chap gave a very visual lesson and I regret that I didn't take the opportunity to photograph him picking his scabs and examining them in the sunlight streaming through the graffitied windows. I don't believe I have adequately commited the details to memory. 

Unfortunately, my colourful journey ended a mere hour and forty five later. I stepped off the train, took a deep breath and contemplated the wonderful, diverse city in which we live. 

Photo by Erik Johansson