Friday, July 27, 2007

Driving Me Crazy

Hi There,
As Anne so eloquently and succinctly put it last night, it is great to finally put a face (or three) to the words. Personally, I find that lack of social stimulation makes Jack (or Peter, as it were) a very dull boy. Meeting you all in one place was, for lack of a better, more appropriate and energetic word, enriching.

One of the most puzzling and yet probably universal ties of the modern world is the commute to work. No matter what walk of life people come from, it seems no society with any degree of modern commerce can avoid having its members (or as Sonal appropriately said, Lemmings) commute. For the last year, that commute for me has been changed drastically. I underwent a shift from driving on highways and busy freeways to taking trains and buses. The luxury that came with having one's own car and the freedom to come and go as one pleases was easily offset by the lack of stress due to actually fearing for one's life. In addition, I get to read all the time and admire pretty faces (note: I'm not a letch or pervert, just human and I like beauty). And while being forced to take public transit was a bit jarring at first, I grew to like it and really appreciate the fact that in the New York Metro area, we are blessed to have such a fluid public transit system. In a car-based society like ours, there isn't much you can accomplish or get to without one. It also made me realize just how blessed, lucky, and privileged I am to not suffer any maladies that would interfere with the utilization of the sticks under my hips.

Last week, however, I went to see my folks to surprise my mother for her birthday and borrowed my father's truck to run some errands down here. For the last week I have been driving to work again, just for the convenience. And I found instantly that I miss my train and bus rides. I can't read, for fear of meeting my own unfortunate demise. The only face to look at is my own in the mirror, and I see that more than enough while I shave in the morning. Most of all though, I have to deal with the other folks on the road and the almost instantaneous frustration that comes with avoiding the other steel chambers of death on the roadway. I have to constantly unclench my hands from the wheel and remind myself to loosen up all over. I think it's probably the closest we'll ever get to being like squirrels or chipmunks in human society: the state of utter, high anxiety and fear of death at any moment that keeps us on the utmost edge and spastically tense. It's kinda stupid. I was raised Roman Catholic and periodically this really honest and refreshingly brash priest would serve mass at our church. One of the things he always used to say, in his own version of the liturgy, was the phrase "and deliver us, from USELESS, anxiety." The commute my friends, that's useless anxiety. It makes nastier animals out of us. But, it is unfortunately necessary, so find the best one you can. I look forward to two weeks from now and hopping back on the train.

And for Anne and Sonal, here's my email address if ya wanna reach out in other ways:



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