I have noticed that my mental state while aboard trains follows an inverse Bell curve of apprehension and anxiety. For the uneducated, this is a Bell curve. Flip it upside down, with time along the horizontal axis and apprehension/anxiety levels on the vertical.
The first 10-15 minutes are spent fidgeting in my seat, wondering if I’ve somehow managed to get on the wrong train, or sat in the wrong compartment, or whether my ticket has osmosed out of my pocket and is now lying on the platform still. Oh, then there’s the “am I gonna have a landbeast flop down next to me and wheeze on me the whole journey” worry.
Once that phase is over and I’m sliding down the curve I find myself entering a state of peace and calm and, almost, tranquillity. Leaning back staring out the window, the sounds of (hopefully just) the wheels on the track outside, watching the world go by. I can quite happily spend many hours on a train like this, just staring or thinking or letting my mind go blank.
Then arrives the last part of the journey when I’m climbing the curve again. Is this my station? Is the train late? Why don’t these damn stations have signs up telling you where you’re arriving into? I didn’t hear that announcement! Not to mention the whole “ok, so now where do I go” ten minute orientation thing once I’m actually off the train.
Why do I enjoy the experience of being on a train so much? I always have, and I’ve never been able to work out why. I can’t link it to anything in my childhood (that I can think of) to explain it, certainly.