Homage to an Escalator

I’m currently heading over to Newtown at about 7:30 in the morning. I catch the train from Wynyard Station (a block from our flat) to Macdonaldtown Station (about 4 blocks from College). It takes about 30mins to go door to door.

I love this part of the day, particularly as I’m going against the flow of the people coming to work in the city. Living in the CBD means you are continually surrounded by floods of people. Great tides of humanity that surge and ebb in waves. I first noticed it when I was crossing the road one day in Martin Place. When the Flashing Man turned green, suddenly thousands of people moved as one. I was picked up by the wave and put down on the other side of the street. The tremendous energy of a crowd is exhilarating and terrifying.

There is an element of that terror when I confront the city each morning: as I ride the escalator down into Wynyard Station from York St, hundreds of people rise up against me.

The escalator system, like many roads in the city, work on a tidal system to allow more room for traffic to flow in the direction of the population. Yesterday morning my escalator was one of the centre ones of the four. I was surrounded by people going the other direction, they all stare as I go past…

Maybe I need to ask permission to defy the immutable laws of commuting life?

One thing I do love about these escalators, they are wooden. I’m sure they’re not wooden all the way through, but the flooring surface is made of wooden bars which make a comforting wooden ‘clack’ as they move. It’s like being in a Swiss Clock Shop, or playing with a Toy Railway set.

It’s one of the sounds of home, as I finish the day and ascend.

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