Finally, I board the train from Dresden to Pirna. My blood pressure is low, already, because I’m hungry from the run to the bus stop in Berlin, and a long journey that begun with the ugly sound of my alarm at 4am. In my hand is a packet of roasted, salted pistachios. The silence causes my blood pressure to drop further, and I take the closest seat, which I don’t realize is reserved for those with bikes.
Pistachios. Not at all an inconspicuous nut to eat, especially on a silent German train. Fuck it, I think, I’m hungry. So I begin cracking one open anyway, or trying to, with my elbows tucked in like resting chicken wings in an attempt to avoid knocking the person next to me. I feel many pairs of eyes on me, as I try to crunch quietly, a futile task when it comes to pistachio nuts, of course.
The train stops. A group of cyclists, equipped with all the extra trappings – even the padded shorts – start to board the train one by one. They glare at me, and say something to each other in German. The German sounds angrier than normal, and I realize that I am in a seat reserved for cyclists.
Grabbing my backpack, I stand up. My phone goes flying, and so do the pistachios. Fuck. I try to push them into a neat pile, reaching around bike tires and shiny rubber shoes. I don’t look at anyone.
I open a glass door, and find a seat, next to the window. Perfect. I know the people sitting close by saw me earlier in my clumsy glory. They stare.
I am still hungry. I ditch the idea of eating pistachios.
A few stops later, the silence is broken by some Americans in an animated conversation, who I can hear despite being in a doored compartment many meters away.