Adventures in Commuting
Buh, bye city. It’s hot today. I mean really, really hot. The sun blazes down and the thermometer reads 96, but the “real feel” is 100. I often wonder how “real feel” is determined. I think of two old men sitting on a wraparound porch of an old white washed farmhouse in rocking chairs, admiring their sweet teas sweating in the shade. One says to the other, “It’s 96 today” then spits chaw right there in the dirt. The other says, “Nah, nah, it’s 100!” while chewing on a random hay straw. Really? ‘Cause I’m literally dead at anything over 83. At that point all I know is it’s HOT! I’ve never been anywhere hotter than a Texas summer. White water rafting in Maupin out in Eastern Oregon when it was 101, it could’ve been a cool and breezy 90, and you would never know the difference. I remember walking in the Las Vegas desert when the temperature registered 105 and it was fine. Not like this relentless Texas heat.
Riding on the train, it looks beautiful outside and this is one of my favorite parts of the city. The train tracks elevate to what I guess is about 3 or 4 stories high. Here the nostalgia is palpable. The old buildings meeting new housing developments. I imagine a city rich with history – not book history – but the kind of history passed down in old tales from your grandma’s grandma and your father’s grandpa. A time when the little’s were raised on Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, fed a full diet of red juice and animal crackers, running through sprinklers and drinking from garden hoses. It isn’t that the town is in disrepair, but it has a certain charm that is probably only appreciated by its long standing residents. I can appreciate it too from this birds’ eye view, if only it is my imagination. Peace and tranquility melt away with the nostalgia and the city as the mighty oaks line the tracks and I remember the reality of this world.
The political turmoil playing out on the world stage. The cruelty of humanity and the thousands upon thousands of years of repeated inhumanity. The many, many, many wars that continue to rage in not so far-away lands and the men, women, and children who are fighting for the very breath they breathe each and every day – This is why I don’t watch/read the news. The religious zealots who are quite possibly ALL wrong. Ha! What a thing that would be if all religions in all the world were indeed quite wrong. And all the injustices that continue to crush the human spirit.
Nostalgia becomes just that. A longing for the day when everyone, EVERYONE, realizes that we all want the same thing. To raise our families in peace, to see our fellow human being treated like a human being. To enjoy the safety in our communities. To practice whatever religion we choose. To know that true justice would be carried out fairly and swiftly. To know that women and children would be protected. That it doesn’t matter what class or race one is born into. What a utopian society that would be and then what? What would we have left to fight about? Who’s turn is it to turn on the porch light and turn off the sprinklers while pouring sweet tea on the porch.