Everyday, monday to friday, I spend two hours in the tube/train/subway/whatever. 50 mins to go forth, and 70 to go back (don't know why, but it always takes longer to get back)
Once a professor told me that watching people in the tube is one of the greatest spectacles in london. At the beggining, I took it as a big revelation: he opened my bored eyes to tube life, and closed them to the tabloids that hang around for anybody to take them in the train seats in London. Suddenly, I learnt to admire people's slightest details, gestures, like in a nineteenth century novel.
After some time, I went back to Barcelona, where I live and work and play pool now. Little by little, I abandoned this english tradition (because I practiced it in England) of staring at people in the train. It was little by little, because during the first month I went to work, I would carefully look at these south american women in the train, all these unexpressive faces of women that get off the train at Sarria, a posh neighborhood in Barcelona. These women, I imagine, are making their way to clean the houses and the toilets of the houses of rich citizens.
Now I don't really look at them anymore, but I try to stand by them if they have a seat. It's a safe bet: I know they'll get off at Sarria, and so if I stand by one of them I'll be able to get her seat first, and read my newspaper comfortably until my turn comes to get off. Then, a young and sleepy (perhaps even beautiful) student will take my seat. I wonder if they also look at me, or they just stand by me to take the seat.