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  • A man is waiting on the platform, another man jostles him.

    “Steady on” says the scowling jostled man, who we’ll call Eric.
    “Sorry mate,” says the other guy, he’s called Dave. “Sorry, I was reading the poster; shouldn’t read and walk I guess.”
    He gestures the billboard advert on the other side of the track, pasted to the concave wall. It promotes laser eye surgery.

    “I was wondering,” continues Dave, utterly uninvited, “why do people do all these things to themselves? To change themselves? Life goes by so fast, what’s the point in spending so much time and money to change your body? For vanity I mean, to not wear glasses any more or... have new hair sewn in and so forth. Who could possibly care that much about glasses?”

    “I’m not your mate” says Eric.

    Dave raises his eyebrows.

    “And where do you get off, anyway?” says Eric. “Life doesn’t feel so very short for everyone. It feels long and hard and pointless. If not having to wear glasses or whatever helps, then why not? It doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

    “Fair point” says Dave, “Fair point; but if a person felt like that then not having to wear glasses isn’t really going to help, not really. It’s just one of those stop gap solutions. Perhaps a person who felt like that would be better off concentrating their efforts on their insides, how they feel about stuff, about themselves maybe.”

    Eric looks fed up. “I can tell you are not the sort of person who wakes up feeling like your brain is scraping around the inside of your skull.”
    “Depends on how long I was in the pub the night before,” says Dave, but he does at least edit the “mate” from the end of this response.

    Eric continues, which is uncharacteristic. “What would be the point with any of that stuff anyway, when the world’s so shit?”
    Despite being very familiar with rhetorical questions, Dave replies “Perhaps a person who felt like that should spend a bit more time looking at the world and they’d see it’s not so shit.”

    “Bollocks.”

    “Well then, they could spend some time trying to improve something about the world rather than all this intropension.”
    “Introspection.”
    “You said it mate.”
    Eric sighs.

    The sound of the approaching train screes out of the tunnel.

    Eric turns and walks to the exit.
    Dave has taken the wind out of his sails and he’s changed his mind about what he wants to do today. He goes to catch the bus home, instead.
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