Transportation Revelations

Andrea - Manchester, Connecticut
Entered on December 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

I believe that public transportation reminds me to think and act like the person I want to become. Each route may be different, but I always find myself at the very same endpoint, remembering the lessons I never should have forgotten.

Waiting reminds me to be patient. I can check my watch a thousand times and tap my foot with one hand on my hip. I can sigh unnecessarily loud and roll my eyes, but none of this is going to make the T, bus or cab come any sooner. Nothing will. I can only take a deep breath and focus on something else.

Waiting patiently reminds me to think outside of myself. Sprinting across campus to catch the BC bus, I realize that the driver doesn’t care about where I’m going as he leaves without me. The T conductor isn’t concerned with my plans in the city, and once I’m on board after 28 minutes of waiting, neither does the grizzled man next to me, who is digging through his nostrils with the end of a toothbrush. And they shouldn’t care. The fact is, even I shouldn’t be caring. I should never waste time worrying about the problems I can’t fix.

Thinking outside of myself reminds me to look at the big picture of life. On the T, I look around me. People from all walks of life read their newspapers, talk with friends, or stare out the window. In no hurry, they are simply content to be out of the frigid air. I ponder my motives for being cranky, only to find that I have none. What gives me the right to hate riding public transportation when there are people who must walk miles to reach clean water? If I miss the bus to get back to campus, at least I eventually have a warm bed to reach.

Looking at the big picture of life reminds me to focus on what I truly value. On one Friday night, I got in a cab at Pleasant Street. By the time I reached Centre Street, the driver and I had begun comparing our thoughts about what is essential and what is luxury. “A man will buy 300 pairs of shoes in a lifetime, but he will die with only one upon his feet,” Niobe shouted from behind the wheel. I thought about what I actually need in this life. It would’ve been nice to catch the T right away, or even the bus before, but now I believe that I should always be happy right where I am. I am alive, loved and well, and that is enough for me.