I’m sitting on the bus and it’s packed with students heading home, hospitality shift workers snoozing, retirees nosing around and then one other body. I spot him as he is not what culture teaches me to expect.
He wears a dishevelled white hooded top, slightly tatty tracksuit bottoms and trainers but is neither buff nor sporty. Nor is it a matching set. He’s more layered up than most on a balmy day and sits quietly in a corner with no assumed air of confidence.
His outfit and skin are similarly flecked with paint yet he doesn’t look weary. Instead his forehead is furrowed with diligence as he paces his way through a hefty novel perched on his thigh.
Clearly it’s snack time, as I spot a few people noisily rustle hands into plastic bags to feed their mouths with crisps or the like. There is no acknowledgement of the food as it is consumed, their eyes gaze mindlessly out of glass panes. But this one silently peels an orange, skipping glances sprightly between word and fruit, and pristinely picks his way through the segments. The skin disappears somewhere to be taken off the bus as he steps off.
Silently, by doing nothing at all and being everything to himself, he bucks so many stereotypes. I just had to capture it.