Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Traffic | 4 February

The roads weren't the only thing packed this Thursday, so were my means of transportation. The bus was standing room only and the metro was tight as usual. It is during times like these that I reflect in my mind—probably to give myself some kind of space, which my mind is the only thing left.

What else should I reflect upon but lines. Not lines that make up shapes or any algebraic formulas. What I mean are people in lines. It's funny really. When I was in elementary school, we had to walk in lines (literally, they had lines on the floor we followed). Every day, we were given a different line leader and followed that person like the obedient children we were. We would line up because it helped teachers keep us in order. This order is repeated as we get older: lines at the bank, lines at the grocery store, lines while driving (called lanes), lines for the bus and even lines for our lives. We are people who operate in lines. Have you ever noticed that when someone steps outside of a paved path, we assume that they are taking a shortcut or doing something rebellious—even radical? I feel that we often forget that until someone made the path, people walked wherever they needed to get where they were going. While lines are a good way to keep things organized and give us a way to go, we can't get so caught up in them that we forget that every now and then, it's good to break the line (metaphorically).

The line for the American life is simple: be born; learn from what your parents can teach you at home; attend a school for the next twelve years of your life (thirteen including kindergarten); go to college (and vote every four years); work; get married (continue to work); have kids (continue to work); raise your kids (continue to work); retire; die. Of course, that is a cut and dry line. It does not include things like have friends, have fun. They are somehow implied. However, for many people, that line isn't right. Some people don't enjoy education enough to go to college. Not necessarily a loss if they learn a trade. But maybe we have to walk away from some lines and stand in better ones—or better yet, we need to make our own lines.

Come back next Thursday and hopefully, I'll have a happier, lighter topic for you to read.

Image via flickr/JuanJ

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