everyday faces

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n my journey into work this morning, dripping with sweat and nursing a dripping nose (heat and hayfever, what a lottery win) I noted the usual faces I share the train carriage with. The same people, catching the 8:43 from Highbury & Islington, everyday.

The young guy in the suit, who must obviously work in an air conditioned office, reading his latest book. Always a paperback, never a Kindle (currently on A Song of Fire and Ice)

The man with the ginger ponytail (who I like to think works in I.T) 

The middle aged woman, who I am friendly with in that smile and hold the door for each other kind of way (She’s an Audible user) 

The sulking bald guy, who will knock his mother over if it meant he got to be first on the train.

Then there’s me. The one with a tissue literally glued to her nose, with bright red headphones just in case I need to step in as an emergency beacon one day.

Ahh, these strangers. My commuter buddies.

The way home though, is different. I never see the same face twice on the way home.

I read somewhere that the people we see in our dreams, are people we’ve passed by in our daily lives and that our brain just stores this information in some tiny nook. Now that is some kind of tiny nook, but also if that is true or not, how amazing is that theory?  There you are, just minding your own business walking along to the supermarket, whilst your brain sneakily screenshots everyone’s face around you.

I watched a documentary recently about Scotland Yard and their team of Super Recognisers. That is an actual, serious, crime fighting thing. People who have a talent and ability to recognise faces. Funnily enough, it was The New Yorker that wrote a piece about these super recognisers in the Met that reminded me. People watching, a required talent and skill- how about that?!

Tomorrow’s journey on the 8:43, I’ll be there, red headphones and all, squinting at my commuter buds and wondering if I’d recognise them away from our train carriage.

Author: Angela Shek

just a clueless mama in East London

3 thoughts on “everyday faces”

  1. This is so fascinating, as I’ve often expected to see the same people on my journey into work, but I never have! Not even one – even though I pretty much leave at a similar time every day. But that fact about your brain storing peoples’ faces is even more intriguing! I make up stories about people I see sometimes as well … I always wonder what they’re like outside of their “commuter” persona. I know I’m not the same person as the one who stares into space on the victoria line every day!


  2. Yes, I make up stories too! In that Sherlock way, I look for little details to guesswork about the kind of person they could be. Passes the time! (unless you catch their eye and then it’s that horribly awkward moment of omggetmeoffthiscarriage because they think you’re creeping on them)


  3. It must be so interesting to always see the same people on your commute every day and wonder how their lives might be outside of that train carriage! I take the tube from Brixton in the mornings, and as it goes every minute, I never really tend to see the same faces. On my way back from work though I always see this one woman and I almost feel like I know her even though we’ve never spoken! I bet I would accidentally wave at her if I saw her somewhere.. :’D

    Laura // Middle of Adventure


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