I miss ting tong! Sound followed by “the train to Cape Town via Lavistown is 40 minutes late, Metrorail apologizes for the inconvenience.”
I miss the man who used to budged in a train carrying big plastic bags and a basket of filled with Chips and Lollipops, shouting at the top of his voice “chips 2 Rands ,Airtime and Lollipops!”.
I missed that lady who used to uplift our spirits with a church chorus song on a very hot afternoon when all you wanted to do is to just sleep.
I miss that slightly overweight young lady who used to place her oily hair against the windows and let the content of her mouth slowly drool down her chicks.
I miss the security guard who greeted everyone with their clan-names “Aahh Rhadebe!”
I miss the overcrowded trains and being squashed in between armpits and bosoms of strangers.
I miss the random toothless smile that flashed around the train.
I miss the train that never arrives on time.
I miss the serious topics discussed in a very casual carefree manner.
I miss our South African trains.
The American train is clean, fast and efficient, but it`s deadly boring. The passengers never talk to each other, they just take out their toys (usually iphones, ipads and kindles) and connect to the wireless internet on the train and bow they heads as they worship these toys with they fingers.
South Africans are big on conversations, it how we learn about each others. We get advice from unbiased strangers. In South Africa you can talk anything about everything with anyone. UK had the Oratory Soapbox, South Africa has trains.
US is big on political correctness and this can create over sensitivity to people, we were made aware that there certain topic that you are not allowed to discuss especially in public platforms like trains and buses, you can not tell someone that you are dressed nicely because this might be seen as sexual harassment, you can not say Happy Christmas, you can not say heaven or hell. You can not say a lot of things in public places. Because there is just too many things you can not say in public people would rather be quiet in public places.
I don’t like this quietness in trains it makes me feel alone in a room full of people. I agree that sometime when you are in Rome do as the Romans do; it is obvious that society would not function properly if newcomers did not obey the laws. One particular good example of this is road rules. Imagine what would happen if South Africans insisted on keeping the left when they are driving in America.