Monday, March 28, 2016

Travel Out of Your Comfort Zone

We spent the whole night on the bus. From 7 in the evening to 7 in the morning we travelled on a Greyhound from Sheldon's family in Missouri to Wheaton. I liked the very first part of the trip when the sun was still out and we sat watching Missouri zip by out the bus window. I thought of the Simon and Garfunkel song America. The song's title suggests what it is about, but in addition to being about the country, it is also about the sense of melancholy that comes with travel. 

Both Sheldon and I experience a profound heaviness whenever we undertake a journey home or back to school. It makes sense, because travel means going somewhere new, but it also means leaving and goodbyes. Travel gives you time to think about your life in the context of the hugeness of the world. It can make you feel small. When you are home your life, your job, your friends are the centre of your day, but when you are displaced from all of those things your life looses a lot of its meaning.

So do we tend to get a little overly existential on the bus? Absolutely. But it feels good to spend time feeling that way every once in a while. We devoted a good hour to existential-window-gazing, but then we entertained ourselves by watching the movie Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman on my laptop. More about that tomorrow. So Today I have decided to make my drawings centre around our bus trip and the lyrics of the Simon and Garfunkel song.

Everybody knows that there are some hard parts to bus travel: Cramped seats, gross toilet, weird fellow passengers, strange smells...But there are some nice parts as well. Let me see...Um, I already talked about the looking out of windows part...I know! It was nice to be with Sheldon the whole time.  He is a good fellow to travel with, because he is not like me and does not get irritable after five bus-bound hours. He also is great at packing snacks. He brought cold pizza, leftover Easter ham in dinner rolls, assorted vegetables and dried fruit. What a guy.

Another thing I like about the bus? I become a member of lower middle class America for a day. You know the saying "We're all in the same boat"? Well, we are all in the same bus: me, a white girl who goes to a crazy expensive white school; the single black mom with her tired eyes and her wriggling two-year-old; the Mexican guy with the huge turquoise ring who talks super loud on his phone in Spanish--we are all in the same bus. We are part of the same exhausted trickle of folks getting off the bus at one in the morning. I don't often get out of my white suburban bubble. I have to say it is not exactly comfortable for me. But I also think it is good for me to remember that the rest of AMerica doesn't look like Wheaton, Illinois.