Commuter Diary 2
Exhausted before 7 am, our dogged commuters are dozing before Malmsbury. Almost to a person, the Castlemaine Commuter falls asleep in a style known as the Unilateral Implosion. It affects commuters with a window seat, and thus, all of our Castlemaine Commuters. Here, the drowsy commuter gently subsides against the window, like a melting sundae.
A much less common style, but rather entertaining, is the Inverted Pendulum. This mainly affects those in the aisle, and is a restless form of light dozing. Here, the commuter gradually tips over towards the shoulder of their seatmate. The commuter’s unfortunate seat-mate gives an annoyed shoulder flick, causing the commuter to start suddenly, snort and blink, and regain an upright posture. But within seconds, the hapless commuter then gently collapses on the other side. The effect is like watching an upside-down pendulum in very slow motion.
We emphasise that no Castlemaine Commuter has even been stricken by the Inverted Pendulum. The Woodindians, a quite interesting species of southern commuter, are known to be suspectible, for reasons as yet undiscovered. Experienced Castlemaine Commuters who find themselves trapped next to a Woodindian who is grievously stricken by the Inverted Pendulum employ a little-known martial arts
manoevre called ikebanezushi. This is a kind of shoulder flick, which when employed correctly, pitches the Woodindian to The Other Side. To the other side of the seat, we hasten to assure our astute readers. An artistic execution of ikebanezushi will pitch the Woodindian into the advanced Unilateral Implosion. This is the same as described above, but the commuter has no visible means of support.
Commuters who are unconscious enter into an ethereal zone. This is believed to be caused by something called track geometry. (Commuter Diary will investigate this phenomenon and report back. It is noticeable that at Woodend, there is a strange and mildly unsettling sign, visible from the carriage, imploring persons not to “alter track geometry”. We do not think it a coincidence this sign is under the bridge at Woodend.)
Back to the point.This New Age state-of-being brings us into the next category of sleepdom: the Communion with a Higher Being, or CHB as it is known in sleep-science circles. The eyes are closed, the head tilts upwards, and the mouth sags a little open in Zen-like awe
of the profound. The CHB-stricken commuter remains gracefully, and approximately, upright. We believe that the CHB is a deeply subconscious response to the winter morning’s Hell, the lot of the commuter.
Although commuters away with the CHB fairies appear to be in a state of serenity, they are also in sensitive territory. It takes merely a few more millimetres of open mouth, a few drinks from the night before, and we approach the realms of dribbledom. This is a difficult subject to mention, and we apologise for raising it, but raise it, we must. Dribbling is at the heart of commuters’ darkest secrets. Perhaps one day, we at Commuter Diary will tell the sad tale of the Kyneton Dribbler, who died of shame.
Does Commuter Diary fall asleep? Yes we do, and always in a most dignified version of the Unilateral Implosion. Like our fellow Castlemaine Commuters, we gently subside into a peaceable, restorative slumber, so unlike the tormented Bendigoloids and the restless Woodindians.
This entry and the photographs originally appeared on the Castlemaine Independent website in 2013.