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Friday, April 29, 2016

The self, the others, and the next election.

You are on a bike path, crossing a river, to get to another path, and another crossing, to get to work after five miles of enchanted exercise and good air. You do this daily, back and forth, impressing yourself and your family and your colleagues who prefer arriving to work with their skins unblemished. You even brag that sweating is natural, and healthy.

You can do this forever, you think, until one day you come to a dead end, a closure up ahead  you could not have anticipated, something you never read about in your local papers because you no longer read your local papers or any papers. The bike path stops abruptly, and there is no way for you to continue on your way to work.

You think, what the @?

How are you going to get to work under these conditions? Your wife and kids took the family car. You can't even call work because you are stuck in the semi-wildness that is your bike path, a wildness you and your friends fought hard to achieve by parading your bike at every council meeting for the last five years, a wildness that  lacks cell towers, or even old fashioned call booths, and that's just how you and your bike friends liked it.

You retreat, down the same path, until you get home, call work, and try to remember where to catch a bus that will take you downtown, and then transfer you to another bus that will take you closer to work. You walk to the bus stop in a bad mood. You do not know whose fault this is; and your plans to bike to work have to be reworked. You think about this all day long.

You had invested five years of your life to fight for your health, your environment, your right to say where and when services were or were not needed. You had made passionate statements at town meetings when mayor candidates talked about urban development, infrastructure, accessible services. You stood there, among people whose bottom lines were profits and urban expansion and talked about the future, about the children who will appreciate open spaces, and the ability to walk to and from school on their own, the way you did as a child.

Today though, your politics may change.

You are forced to use public transportation and suddenly you realize how substandard, clunky, old and dirty it is. Today, as your freedom is restricted, and your mood suffers, you think of how you might afford another car for the family, how you will miss the birds, and the flowing waters under that bridge and the future happiness of days spent to and from work over that enchanted bridge you have come to love.

Today, your focus has taken a sudden turn. All day long, and after dark, you think of nothing else but the need to build a more reliable, efficient public transportation system. Today, you grow up to think for a group, for those who have no choices but earn a living by hopping  on the bus and trudge through town the only way accessible to them. Today, you have left your self behind, and you are thinking of the need of the many. 

14 comments:

Linda said...

Exactly the reason I am a Democrat. There are some projects in life that are too big for an individual or even a state to do without some help from the federal government. Republicans believe in individual freedom and liberty but I believe we are a better people if we consider the plight of those around us. Building infrastructure is expensive, even too expensive for states to do alone. I'm certainly for better public transportation. Coming from Texas the public transportation here seems wonderful but it still needs improvement. Together we must work to make that happen.

Linda Myers said...

Good idea, to leave yourself behind from time to time. We're all in this together, it seems.

Rob-bear said...

That is an amazing post, Rosaria. It is so life-like, speaking of how (small) detours can change one's whole life.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. if we don't find out, or haven't noticed something's changed until we come across it - that would irritate me too ...

Keeping fit and healthy, enjoying the fresh air - all helping towards a longer, happier and easier life ... so true ...

Good luck - cheers Hilary

Cheryl Cato said...

Great commentary and fabulous title!!!

JeannetteLS said...

Wonderful. Suggesting the election without making some statement of yourself. It made me think, think about the greater good. Beautifully done as always.

Tom Sightings said...

A parable we can all learn from ... nice!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Your piece is well written and you seem hopeful. Sadly I fear my optimism is lost.
Though not an American I do follow the current events and hope no civil war is about to happen as people have totally taken on a new way to get leaders tossed out and pushed in with millions of dollars wasted daily on silly games to win an election before an election. Really hard to watch:(
Imagine the transport system those dollars could be building and the jobs that could have been created with all that wasted funding?

Sally Wessely said...

Wow. That is all I can say. You captured the essence of truth again.

Helen said...

We have a transportation system in Bend, however I believe it is sub-standard. Oregon State University - Cascades is set to open down the street from me in Fall 2016. Suddenly we have an influx of teachers, students, employees AND the way we transport these folks must improve!!!!! Time is running out.

Hilary said...

Your post speaks so well.. in many ways. We all encounter dead ends (at least metaphorically) from time to time, and need to rethink our paths. Yes, I can relate to this. Thanks for your always insightful writing.

yaya said...

There are many ways of interpreting your post. I think that many times life does throw up those road blocks that make you have to change whether or not you want to. I'm the type that would put my head in a book and not look at the problem head on. Not see the dirt or crime that city life transportation can have. I grew up in Chicago and chose to stay in the suburbs to work after HS..that changed my life forever. I started working in surgery just for a summer job as a nurse's aide then found out I loved it, went back to school. I met my husband through another staff member..and the rest is history. Then we left that big city for the quiet, clean, calmer life of the rural countryside. Sometimes changes mean life changes forever. I guess I'm not the fighter or changer...more the mover out of the wayer...does that make sense? I still am fighting to find a candidate to vote for...sad isn't it.

Vagabonde said...

I don’t want to talk about public transportation in this country – that is a disgrace for such a modern country.

As for the campaigns, I also think that the way elections are conducted here is also a disgrace – as for example letting a 100+ African-American lady waiting several hours under a hot sun to cast a ballot and having long lines in poor areas or not enough machines. How about all those other voter suppression laws being passed? In the end, only 40 to 50% of eligible US voters go ahead and vote (ranking about last in industrialized nations.) If people thought voting was for the greater good they would not tolerate an electoral campaign that last 596 days (78 days in Canada, two weeks in France and 12 days in Japan.) They would not tolerate either the amount of money spent on the campaigns when funds are needed for infrastructure and other meaningful projects. They could use the money to improve the voting machines when more than 10% fail in each election, and I could go on and on. Elections here are backward compared to other countries, embarrassing and flawed. The greater good? People are too apathetic to care.

Barbara said...

Something that we all need to think about. Great post.