Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Travelling a Little "Ecologically"

alexb2016's picture

Today, as I’m travelling back to campus, I’m not writing from my sight-sit, but on a train. This has awarded me the opportunity to travel “ecologically”, as I’m being careful to observe the interactions of other passengers. I’m realizing that a train is, in fact, one of the most interesting places to study people; individuals are forced to situate themselves within close proximity and besides having the same destination in mind, I’m hard-pressed to find many commonalities between these people. There are clearly very different socioeconomic classes, and if we weren’t all going the same place on a monotonous eight hour trip, I doubt that many of us would have ever had a reason—or opportunity—to interact with one another. I just had a conversation with a boy who attends Loyola University, and lives in Fairfield, Connecticut. His disposition didn’t seem particularly friendly at first, but when I started talking to him, he was very engaged in our conversation (which was about midterms). Somehow, we ended up having a conversation about skiing, and he told me that he goes up to Okemo and Killington to snowboard—which is about ten minutes away from where I live in Vermont. If I hadn’t been on this train, I would have never met Michael, even though he visits my favorite mountain several times a year.

                Other people seem less willing to engage themselves in a conversation. Two girls who look to be the same age are sitting across from me, and are both busy on their computers. They’re both wearing college apparel, and therefore, I’m deducing that they’re both current students. They must have something in common, yet they haven’t, and do not seem eager to interact. I wonder what starts a conversation. It could be a desire to break the awkwardness, interest based on someone else’s appearance, or even attraction. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to derive the answers from my observations, but do you have any thoughts on the subject?

I hope everyone has a safe trip back to BMC!