Archive for October 7th, 2008

Bus, originally uploaded by estan.

Last week I took a bus downtown.

It’s the first time I’ve been on a bus since I got married to a man who had a car. I used to take the bus every single day, and I remember reading on it, studying, taking notes, daydreaming, and looking absently out the window. I also remember, quite vividly, the smell of bodies heating up inside sodden winter jackets.

What I didn’t remember was how it felt to be in such close proximity to so many other people. When I sat on the bus last week, with my shoulders and thighs pressed against the stranger sitting next to me, it was all I could think about. By the time the bus reached my stop, I had to squirm my way through the crowd of passengers to get to the door, and I felt a huge relief when I stepped off, back into my own personal space.

Which got me to thinking.

I’ve spent the last 16 years or so driving around in various cars and minivans, completely in charge of where, when and how I’m getting where I’m going. I’m safe in my little bubble. I don’t have to deal with strangers. Same with my life. I hardly ever have to be in a crowd if I don’t want to be, I rarely speak with anyone that I don’t already know, or who at the bare minimum isn’t somehow connected to the life I’m familiar with. When I do talk to strangers, it’s usually as a customer, or a consumer, and I’m in control of the conversation. I’m very insulated in my own world, with my cluster of friends and farther flung acquaintances.

By virtue of being wealthy enough to live in a house and drive a car, I can live on my own terms, in my own little reality.

So can many of us.

Have we lost something by living this way?

Read Full Post »