“It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.’” – Douglas Adams
Train stations always make me existential.
I was in several over the past three days, and each one made me strangely sad. I always think, when I’m traveling, how unloved train stations, airports and bus stops are. They are necessary places, but they are transitionary- no one leaves home with the sole intention of visiting the station.
I couldn’t help but imagine the other people who stood in the cold, waiting to see headlights swing around the tracks, newly-purchased ticket in hand. Where were they going? Just- somewhere else. They were excited, or hopeful, or full of dread and sadness at the prospect of getting to wherever they were going.
People are a lot like places. Some people are destinations; they shimmer with all the promise of something better, of possibilities.
Some people are trains themselves; they come in and out of your life maybe once or twice, they teach you a lesson or open your eyes to something new, and get you where you need to go.
Some people are train stations. They are full of waiting, not action. They never take off for something better. They let people come and go from their lives while they themselves just wait for something exciting to happen to them.
Waiting is necessary every once in a while. But if you make a habit of it, you end up standing still for too long. You get stuck and scared. Before you know it, you become what other people pass through as they live their lives. You become a train station.
Standing on the platform with my nose hidden under my scarf for warmth, I could only manage one thought as the train rushed towards me through the night:
It’s time to be a destination.