Crowd Sourcing Assignment

I have always found travelling on the GO train to be an adventure. I take it to get to school every day, so it is very routine.

But what I find so interesting is the people that I encounter every morning during my commute to school. And it’s not just the types of people that I find interesting, it’s how these people choose to spend their time on the train.

To paint a picture in your mind, the morning commute is really something one has to see to believe. It is unbelievable how many people go to work in Downtown Toronto – crowds and crowds of people taking the GO trains in the morning to get to the city. You’ve got those who rush to catch the train at the last minute just before the door closes, or the brisk walkers who know that no matter what they will catch the train.

There are so many instantaneous encounters with passengers before one gets onto the GO train- ticket buyers, the ‘rushers’, parking-spot neighbors, just to name a few- that there really is no time for one to really look at person and wonder what that person is all about. Why are they talking that way? Why do they have said item in their hand? Why do they look concerned, etc.

I don’t know about others, but I like reading people. I like trying to figure out who a person is, based on what I see them doing, saying, or what they might be holding.

They say not to judge a book by a cover, but I am by no means judging. I am simply observing.

You might ask, “What do you get from observing people?” Well, when I feel like I have come to a certain conclusion about who someone is, I feel like what I have in mind about them must be the truth. And this ‘fake-truth’ inspires me.

I have made up a story about their life, in my mind, obtained by what I see at face value.

Is it true? I don’t know, and I probably never will.

But this story that I’m making up, true or not, is in a way, that person’s own story. I just found out about it by looking at them, and coming to my own conclusions about who these people are and what their lives are like.

Sitting on the GO train one day, I began looking around and observing.

I saw people doing various different things- talking, reading the newspaper, sleeping, doing work, on the phone, on the computer, looking out the window, or just doing nothing.

I observed these people-male and female- for some time, while making conclusions and stories about their lives.

Although everyone’s stories were obviously not the same, I came to a general consensus about most of these peoples lives through the actions that they decided to play out on the train that morning.

For example, I saw a group of friends, all female, simply talking amongst each other. They were loud, but didn’t seem to care. They were all laughing and seemed very happy to be in conversation with one another; it was like, to them, the rest of train didn’t exist. For all I know, their topic of discussion alone could have been the reason why they were so loud and happy. But to me -someone who doesn’t know what their lives are like and what they’ve been through- this is who they were as people. From what I saw, these people were blissfully happy in their lives. They had a family, a good job and great friends. They were optimistic, joyful people.

Those who sleep on the train have a whole other story. As apposed to the ladies who were talking and making gestures, I had nothing to go off of those who were asleep. They weren’t talking so I didn’t know what they sounded like. They weren’t making any gestures, so I couldn’t make any observations based on that. I was just simply observing a motionless being. So as I was spending about a few seconds just quickly observing these people –without looking like I was staring at them- I was making conclusions or more so, asking myself questions, as I had nothing verbal to go off of. Why were they sleeping? Did they not want to do anything else? Did they forget their favorite book at home? Are they sleeping because they wanted to use their phone but it ran out of battery? Did they not get enough hours of sleep? Did they have a bad day, and just wanted to forget about it? Or did they just want to relax? From these questions spurred many more questions and several answers came from those questions. Answers like ‘they must have been in a hurry’, ‘they must have had a fight with a loved one the night before’ or ‘they’re probably just tired’, came into mind. Most of my answers made me sympathize with whoever I had observed, but it also made me come to my conclusions about the possibilities of what these people’s lives could be like.

This whole ‘experiment’ made me realize that there is so much more than meets the eye. It also made me realize that even though I didn’t know these people, I shouldn’t judge them based on what I see. But from the stories I theorized about them, I felt like that time spent giving them a back story had given me insight into what could possibly be their story, and made me appreciate that person in a different way that I normally would.

This visual is a depiction of the different types of things people do on the GO train during the morning commute.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Storytelling & Transmedia | rubanikalra

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