Monthly Archives: January 2012

You see what you see

Dealing with passengers day after day, you see what you see. It’s a question of morals. At the station, you get a very clear picture of people at their most negative, their downsides. For instance, if we’re sweeping up the station with a dustpan and brush, just when we’ve finished, someone will flick a cigarette butt or piece of litter right on the spot where we’ve cleaned. There are too many self-assertive people out there.

There’s an upside to passengers, too. A bloke around 50, always travels on the first train of the day, always used to greet me, he probably thought I’d died until I returned to the job. Yesterday morning when we met, he said: “Alive and well means you’ve still got things to do. Don’t give up the fight!” It’s such an encouragement just to get a cheerful greeting. Nothing comes of hatred.

Toshiyaki Toyoda, from Haruki Murakami’s Underground.