more or less
same train, different page - click for larger view
On the train home this evening, I stood between a man with a unicycle, and a man in a wheelchair. Not once did they make any eye contact. In fact, they stood with their backs to each other throughout the whole journey.
Wheelchair-Man: [clearing his throat loudly] Interesting ah, your bicycle.
Unicycle-Man: Oh, yah. It's a unicycle. [looks away]
WM: Must be hard to balance.
UM: Not too bad. Must practise. After a while, it's quite easy.
WM: Can go fast?
UM: OK, quite fast. Still slower than a bicycle. Haha, one wheel less so also slower than you!
There is a long silence. The train stops. The Unicycle Man steps aside for a lady to get to the door, steps back, takes off his cap and runs his hand across his head of short grey hair before putting on his cap again. He adjusts the strap of his backpack - a gigantic bright blue mail bag - takes out a comic, its pages browned with age.
The Wheelchair Man closes his eyes and keeps one hand hooked around the pole in the train cabin. The back of his neck is all liver-spotted. Like the Unicycle Man, he is tanned. They both wear waist pouches and are in their 50s. But those are about the only similarities between them. And of course, there are the wheels.
WM: It must be very hard to cycle that thing. What's the most difficult part?
UM: [takes his cap off, smooths his hair, and puts it back on ] Er, no lah, really, it's easy, quite easy...Well, I guess the only part I think that is difficult is getting on up the unicycle.
WM: Ah, yes yes, I see...getting on that thing must be very difficult.
Of course this conversation did not take place...except in my 5minute daydream as the North-South train wormed its way to Toa Payoh on a slow Tuesday evening, wondering what will be the chance of getting on a train with a man with a unicycle and a man in a wheelchair again!