I took the train with my flatmate on Tuesday morning. We chatted, as only two women can, oblivious to the quiet carriage around us. Or perhaps talking that tiny bit louder to fill the echoing space.
I wonder what other people in the carriage make of it. When I’m on my own and there are people chatting away, I can’t help but listen in . And judge them – their topic of conversation, the quality of their jokes, the situations they’re in (oh how tempting it is to wade in with an opinion). So of course I expect people to be judging me and my friend as we talk.
I’m sure the Heisenberg principle must apply to commuter conversations. In the same way we talk louder to fill the strange silence that a collective of people not speaking creates, perhaps our topic of conversations are a little more controversial, our laughs that little more brittle.
Hang on, a quick moment of web-based research has turned my casual reference to Heisenberg on its head: it is not that a thing observed is somehow changed through being observed, but rather that the observer becomes part of the observed reality through the act of measurement and observation.
That has given me pause for thought… but then I think this is what I was expecting: a nascent understanding of myself as commuter, and my own conversion to something (who knows what) through observing my fellow commuters.