Feature: #Traincouple – I Spy With My Naked Eye
It was time to enlist help. Without the serendipity of ending up opposite my #traincouple on the train again, my theories could only carry me so far. Add to that trying to strike up what would be the most awkward conversation on earth…
‘So, what do you make of this weather we’re having?’
Him: ‘It’s very wet’. (I don’t know why I figure it’d him to answer. He’s the one always grinning and saluting people, so I assume he will be the easier to probe for information. I am also assuming that it will be wet; with four months of spying under my belt in winter in Ireland, I believe this to be the most probable reply.)
Then, after getting him relaxed with an easy one, I’ll be straight in with the body blow.
‘Are ye having an affair?’
I need to spend more time fretting over my follow-up. Interrogation techniques cannot just be unleashed willy-nilly on the unsuspecting #traincouple. For all they know, I’m just another red-eye commuter, as disaffected by the journey and her fellow passengers as anyone else. My secret identity as their greatest fan and possible future barring order recipient means that a much greater effort will have to be extended. I remember fondly when it all it took to strike up conversation was a furious patting of pockets in the international ‘I have no lighter’ lingua franca of smokers. Now I’m stumped after asking about the weather. And usually I work best off script. A talent for bullshit honed from years of mitching Sunday Mass and having to recount detailed sermons along with a running commentary on the state of the congregation and the behavior of ‘bold’ children in the gallery.
With the development of the #traincouple story, more and more people were becoming accomplices. I told tales of #traincouple to strangers, each story told, in some way, as confession, as my hoping for absolution. Each admission of my indiscretion makes it better, as if the more people know, the lesser the offence: I am not telling tales; I am trying to discover the very meaning of love, for the good of all. My fandom is not so much a task as a community service.
This confessional trend brought me to a girl I knew through work in the city who often got the afternoon train home with me. She got off in the home of our hand-holding celebrities. Confessing brought new insight. I described, she admonished, I narrated and soon she became as intoxicated as I was.
She said she needed a picture, that the descriptions were not enough, but how could I take that step? Part of the rules are no photos. Don’t ask me who made the rules or how they came to be known by me, but part of me instinctually knows that photographing #traincouple was wrong. Yet another oddity in the bending of social norms that my little fandom has birthed. Right up there with going through their bins and… writing posts about them on the internet.
While my ever-held phone may lack a telephoto lens, it is within its capabilities to get a good shot of #traincouple on the go. But somehow, that’s not part of the plan. An identifiable picture of them crosses a line, an imaginary line but still, there must be ‘rules’. So no pictures. Perhaps by now you have your own idea of what #traincouple look like. Invariably, by this stage of the story, people do. If you’re very lucky, there’s a bit of you and your partner in them.
The story of #traincouple continues next week…