Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"seen it all sittin' sideways with my townmates"

riding in the 66 for more than a decade now.
it's an illuminating stretch of my commute. the 39 is all students,
or nurses, going down towards the center of town.
but the 66, from Dudley to Harvard, is another thing entirely.
Dudley Square, Harvard Square, Coolidge Corner; for these names we all have some image in our mind. And the 66 is most often where they meet,
and where we can all compare our image with what we experience.

Willingness to pay attention and step aside when someone needs to depart
How much space do you take in a seat meant for two
Charitableness of spirit

color is last on the list, because i put it there a while ago.
i came to the city from a not terribly prosperous and predominantly white Connecticut town. city life quickly exposed to me that i had some preconceptions about race. they were of the charitable but naive variety, and as i started to understand the people around me the question of skin color slid down to the bottom of the list of things that i needed to worry about.

the 66 gives me a fresh lesson 4 days a week.
sit on the bus for ten minutes and, if i'm paying attention and thinking about the people that i see getting on and off, i can review and revise my assumptions about race, age, wealth, homelessness, poverty, child-rearing, health, local government, national government, crime, policing, public life, private life,

you know, all the stuff that we need to figure out in America.

if you don't take the 66, at least come and take a look out the real time virtual window to Dudley Square on the street outside our store. the idea has potential, but the fulfillment depends on you.

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