ISSN : 2266-6060


Between Paris and Marseille, Novembre 2021.

In the announcements on board the train, we now hear the names of the persons who are there to ensure the smooth running of our journey: controllers, train drivers, baristas. Finally, a cleaner is sometimes simply called by name, the least visible in the chain of rail workers. As is often the case for those who work in the service of others, their invisibility is part of the smooth running. They pass and pass again and act continuously, almost without the passengers’ knowledge.
And yet, in this high-speed train as in others, his action is made visible by a self-adhesive sheet on which, passage after passage, he writes the time. Proof of work for his employers, attestation for the passengers, it doesn’t matter: he takes out the marking pen every time he leaves the toilets. But reading these timetables, doubts arise: the separator changes, the shape of the figures is not exactly the same. Are these just variations to combat boredom or should we take the “we” displayed seriously?
The train is about to arrive, it was better that way as space would be running short. And then other agents will clean up, including those responsible for wiping the sheet. Because the very marks of the cleaning cycle must disappear to ensure cleanliness.

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