On an average of maybe once a month I join the 2.5 million train passengers per year that swipe their cards at the Fortitude Valley train station. In peak hour I blend into the bodies and faces that focus on the platform or the exit without awareness of the guards watching the procession of humanity. Off -peak is more relaxed and even seems to promote acknowledgements and greetings as we take our time to swipe and move.
Today I had an off peak experience and casually swiped my card when a voice called “Hey mate”. When I realised it was a staff member I immediately thought either my card didn’t read or random body checks were about to be introduced by Queensland Rail.
However, the greeting was followed with “I saw you on TV the other week”. I now have reasonable list of TV credits to my name so I could ask “Whch program”? It turns out it was a recent ABC documentary on Mu’ooz Restaurant in West End.
The fascinating insight for me was that the staff member stated he recognized me from my trips in and out of Fortitude Valley. Just when I thought I woud be a face in the crowd it turns out that my face stands out enough to be remembered on screen and at barriers!!
Our conversation then shifted to the subject of the documentary and the QR staff member’s interest in learning more about African cuisine and the location of the restaurant.
I did my promo job with a quick review and reccommendation as well as directions to rival Google maps.
This encounter also reminded me that I live in a public sphere most of the time. Today I was wearing my “Free the Refugees” Tee shirt and my Anti-Poverty 2016 cap. I have been described as a walking billboard before and I take my public role of advocacy as a challenge and invitation to engage in public conversations about justice.