When technology fails: observational exercise on a slow regional train between Milan and Turin in winter 2015
Milan Central station is behind me. On a rail track beside the one I am travelling on I see a yellow wagon. Someone drew a big smile on its left side. A 20-something Persian-looking guy sits in front of me and is sketching a human being whose eyes are shut: is it a man? A woman? Who knows? The character’s face is long and looks like it’s springing out of a rose bud. Or is it an ample and royal collar?
In Rho a crescent Moon appears, at the end of my afternoon: each time I see it in the sky at this hour I imagine I am in a sci-fi movie. I am almost expecting to see 3 Moons, up there.
Abandoned factories and cars, emblems of environment risks on our delicate health. A sign indicates that the next village is called Vittuone. What kind of a name is that?
In Magenta, I stare at an empty football pitch. A bird glides towards the ground: the snow there will vanish soon. Skinny apple trees on the side of the road.
In Novara the Alps walk by me while their colours are changing from pearl white to pink. A black and white graffiti showing Shakespeare’s iconographic face.
Rice fields around Vercelli. Water mirrors. All mondine are gone. A grader nearby is as tiny as a toy.
The day turns into evening. Doors are closing and leave the cold air outside. I see some bright blue vases in Santhià’s station: they are surrounded by a very grim, rusty landscape. Salt is poured out on the streets: nobody will fall down or skid on their way home tonight. Forsaken locomotives lay alone on some dead tracks. A sign reads: “Do not go beyond the yellow line”.
Some street lamps are turn on Chivasso’s dark alleys. A teenager, wearing a sleeveless top and showing pumped shoulders, gets on at this station: I observe his goofy pink earphones. Electrical trellis look like enormous keys planted in the soil. Rivers, or maybe it’s just one river: the Po, here beside me.
Night presents me with Superga Basilica: up there it is telling me that I am home.
Proust once said that “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. My eyes were new tonight as all my electrical devices were down. Luckily. Otherwise, I would have missed all of this.