Monday, December 22, 2014

On A Train to Nowhere

I miss the train, I actually miss travelling by the local every day. I can't quite wrap my head around the fact yet. Being alone but surrounded, hidden in a crowd and actually happier that way - this, I figure, is something of an achievement for me. Of course, I'm being very selective in my descriptions. Anyway, one of my favourite songs to listen to on the train was this lovely German one by Christian Anders: Es fährt ein Zug nach Nirgendwo, meaning - oh the irony - on a train to nowhere. It's amazing how the song resonates with me. (Literally, though, it's about a breakup.) 

It's a sad song filled with half hearted hope and I love it. Because I think of it as essentially the same as Emily Dickinson's carriage-ride-life. You know, the "because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me, the carriage held just ourselves and immortality," except with a lot more punctuation? That's what the train to nowhere from the song reminds me of. Life. At every moment in our lives, the past is pushing us away, we're inching wearily ahead, dully hopeful of the future but still yearning to run back, wishing a "no" could turn back the clock.

Most people who know me would say I have a generally cheery disposition. But there are days, some days, when nostalgia plagues me. I suppose it does you too. A professor I usually agree with said, over a month ago, that there's no greater crutch keeping us from living our life than nostalgia. Being sentimental about the past is the worst thing you could ever do to yourself. A part of me hoped he made sense, it'd be that much easier to let go of the wistfulness if he were right, but another part of me resisted with vehemence. We'd probably be much happier now, if we lived just in the now, but it seems like a quick-fix solution. Would living in the moment, letting go of the charms of the past, help in the long run? What do I know.

I'm not sure what prompted this vague post. I have been trying and failing to write a cohesive book review on Tabula Rasa for hours now. These days, I'm steering myself back to my German-obsession and Christian Anders with his powerfully-pretty antithesis-ey voice is a stand-out memory of then. 

(I did a bad translation of my favourite lines of the song, but I think they are subtler and contain more meaning than the loosely translated English version that I found.) 

I'm on a train to nowhere, where
no one turns the light from green to red.
Does it really mean nothing to you,
That all our joys could break all at once?

I'm on a train to nowhere,
soon you'll be alone just like me,
say something, say just a word,
and surely everything will be like before.

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