At the Margins

by Zbigniew


A moment of quiet contemplation, induced by late summer sunshine diffused by a Sytrain’s hazy window, is suddenly pierced, popped.

It’s not right.

The sound I mean -the cue that precedes the station announcement. It’s been altered, slightly. The tone has changed. When did that happen? Why? This new version sounds sluggish, tired. An audio metaphor for Translink’s fatigued operations.

The next station is … Stadium/Chinatown

I’ve never understood the need to include “the next station is.” What else could possibly be on the agenda? The next station is … my arse. I’m offended by the redundancy.

I prefer the London Underground approach –or, the Underground as I once knew it: Embankment. Cannon Street. Monument. Right to the point, with none of this bullshit helpful/friendly/nonsense/noise.


Christ but it sounds like a worn out cassette tape recording.

The next station is … Main Street/Science World … transfer here for long distance train and bus connections at Pacific Central Station

What’s with the remedial information? Who needs to know this that doesn’t already know it?

Tourists, I suppose.

And the new, tentative, residents. These are tourists, too, but of indeterminate duration. That endless stream of suckers and/or investors –monied or leveraged- that have parked their dreams or swollen their portfolios on sales pitches and branded lifestyles. The ones that are here until things go sideways. A teeming mass of marginal inhabitants directed centre stage by a lopsided economic imperative and obsequious tips directed over a transit public address system.

At least until a long, grey and dank fall-winter settles in their bones. In a crowded train car that offers little warmth, where they tune-out the helpful tips now directed at the latest arrival and move a little closer to me, out here on the margins.