Translated from the French by Alison Anderson
You who travel little, you who never travel: still, there comes the odd day when you happen to take a train. At the station there are lots of businessmen. You can spot them from a distance, by their missing faces. The same man, in dozens of copies. The same young man, old in his words, embalmed in his future. You look at them somewhat fearfully, the way as a child you used to look at dried-up old people with their somber voices. The train pulls in. It's one of those express trains invented by these businessmen, for their personal convenience. There is a straight line of light-colored carriages. There is a clutch of cold wind that flattens fields and empties them of their furrows, their accents, their nerves. These are fields deserted by gazes, by men, by beasts; lowly clumps of earth tossed to the dogs of speed. The countryside is a void now, and so you pass through it quickly. And confronted with this void of countryside you become acquainted with the mass-produced man, the absent man: he goes from Paris to Tokyo, from Tokyo to New York. He goes everywhere on an electric earth, like a corpse laid out in death. He takes trains, the kind that go from one point to another. From nothing to nothing. In his haste he takes the void with him. However often he speaks, he hears only himself. However far he goes, he finds only himself. Wherever he goes he leaves behind a stain of gray; he sleeps in the midst of what he sees. And so you say to yourself: these people who travel so much never take a single step forward.