In the Middle of Nothing

La Voz de Galicia – June 28, 2024 →

Cristina PatoThe other day, during one of those delays that now seem habitual on Renfe, while we waited to find out if we would continue on or remain stuck somewhere in between Madrid and Ourense, I started thinking about how each of us processes and accepts an experience where you can do little more than wait (since on trains and planes your time is at the service of the companies that operate them). In my seat, I could hear, unintentionally, the various conversations around me, and I reflected on the different possible versions that can be originated from the same moment. The train was delayed, and with no more information than that, we boarded, but then it stopped several times, and each time it stopped, an alarm sounded, and although the first alarm brought silence to the car, with the following ones, I suppose we knew there was no danger, so we all carried on with what we were doing. But after several stops and a now considerable delay, phone calls started; «I’m going to be two hours late,» «I’m going to miss my connection.» Each person had their own way of dealing with the situation. Some were offended, angry, frustrated, tired, some complained, and some simply let things go. And then I began to think about the idea that if the same experience can be narrated in a thousand different ways, is it still the same experience? And if so, what is the truth of all the versions of the same moment? Ten minutes away from Ourense, we were stopped again, and then I heard someone say, «Now we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere,» and I smiled, thinking about their truth, because if you’re not from here, and depending on where you’re going, sometimes Ourense is the middle of nothing…

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