Ever since ….. as far back as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with conduit places; places that exist only as a means for people to transport from one place to another. I don’t completely know why I have this fascination exactly.
I speak of places like: hallways, highways, subways, train paths, even long stretches of road with few or no exits.
Partially the reason why I am fascinated with these places is because most people pay them no mind at all. The people in these places are either thinking about where they are going, or where they have been. Seldom are they mindful of their surroundings; and it shows on their faces. Always in a hurry too.
Not me (not all the time anyway). I like to observe my surroundings while I am in transit. I look at the details, I look at the people.
If I am in a hallway, I like to look at the pictures on the walls, the paint, molding, carpet. I look at these things because chances are, nobody else does.
If I am driving on a highway, I look at the forest surrounding it. I wonder how deep it goes, if there are any fascinating animals living in it. I look at the median between the the coming and going lanes and wonder “Who mows that grass? …. It doesn’t stay short on it’s own. The state must hire landscapers to do it. How come I never see anyone mowing it?”
If I am on the subway or train, I look around and think “Everyone is so silent. Look at all the stressed and depressed faces. Would it kill them if these people spoke to each other?” In the waiting area of the subway I look at the constructed surroundings. Benches, waste receptacles, pillars, tiled walls, map posters. I wonder about the people who build and maintain these things. Are they appreciated? Do the people here even notice this wonderful facility provided for them? From the platform I recall looking down the tunnel once and noticed an old style discarded Dorito bag (vintage 80’s). After noting that the tunnels are never cleaned, I wondered what other ancient artifacts may be in the tunnel. A subway tunnel is a potential time capsule.
Another reason why I like conduit places so much is because nowhere else will you find a more diverse assortment of people gathered together. Our culture and interests determine our destination, but the means we use to get there are means we all share. Just think of all the new things people would learn, and new opportunities that would present themselves if people would communicate while they were in transit (speaking of public transportation). This is missed opportunity for unity.
I don’t know exactly why I am sharing this here. It’s a recent self realization that I wanted to share. But it IS worth mentioning that freeing the mind of clutter permits us to to be more mindful of our surroundings which can broaden our perspective.