Public Transit and Ants Marching

There is perhaps nothing sadder than sitting in a morning commuter in a foreign land seeing people trying to make it to work. It’s especially sad in Tokyo as most “salary men” and “office ladies” look tired and jaded. It reminds me of the Dave Mathews Band song called “Ants marching“. It has poignant lyrics. His metaphor compares the working class to ants in a line.

All the little ants are marching,
Red and black antennae waving,
They all do it the same,
They all do it the same way.

Even more impressive at the simply spoken but deep lyrics in this verse.

Goes to visit his mommy
She feeds him – well, his concerns, he forgets them
And remembers being small
Playing under the table and dreaming.

I guess its depressing for me because I think that maybe I’m the ant and I dont even know it. Maybe I’m living someone else’s dream.

The salary men and office ladys often sleep with each other. I mean, on trains, without even knowing it. Leaning on each other yet silently pulling away as they realize they are invading someone’s personal space. I think Japanese salary men and women have Ninja powers to sleep at will and in any position. It is hilarious to see some of them type feverishly into their cellphone and the be completely asleep 2 minutes later.

Mass transit in the summer in Berlin is also worth talking about. Non-Airconditioned trains in and around Berlin remind me how hard life must have been in East Germany. Young and carefree germans drinking on these trains and their mannerism seems no different than a young and loud American in Brooklyn. They can make you feel old. Older than you feel before seeing them.

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