Friday, May 25, 2012
5) Conveyance and Convenience
Seems right to be in a state of appreciation. Ever since the wheel even horses and donkeys have likely felt some relief. Certainly that's what War Horse depicted, for those who saw the anthropomorphic direction. Yet one might confess, when it comes to means of conveyance, a fair amount of taking-for-granted goes on. Trains, planes, and automobiles trips off the tongue lightly, but were they not there for us we might be a great deal more saddle-sore, foot weary, or otherwise beleaguered. Icarus had it right; there is a need in us to have some means by which we may soar above our stasis, and for the traveller, conveyances become indispensable. Wheelchair-bound persons know that much right off. We are so reliant, dependent, needy of our chariots. And in my case, since I cannot propel myself with this spinal condition of mine, I am also so grateful for the pushers in my life. Wheelchair pushers, that is, not what it sounds like, ha! So a diminutive Stacey at the airport conveys me through security, places me afore the ticket wicket. Slightly taller, my wife leaves me off after ensuring I have a Time magazine behind which to appear appropriately intriguing. It is the esoteric and the clandestine and the metaphorical and the symbolic that travels with most of us. We are seldom simple beings. We each carry our stories. About the only thing that makes my story more interesting than someone else's right now is that I write it right now, while you are reading it right now too. Conveyances do not take us out of the 'right now', writer or reader; meaning arises itself out of the very means of our conveyance. Impatience bears no truck with being conveyed. The vehicle will not, should not of necessity go faster. The time for departure should not be posted as anything other than precise. The ship may leave later, so too for the train, plane, and automobile, but it certainly should never leave before the posted time. Still, I bet that famous fellow who arrived onstage a smidgen too late for embarkation retained to his dying day a sense of gratitude that the Titanic left without him. Precisely. As passengers, we trundle along with the movement of the pedal pusher, the pilot, the driver. We are the driven. We exercise patience and live in the moment. Good time to read one's Time magazine. But behind the ease of transport, relatively speaking, goes a host of arrangements and engineering and organization and specifications greasing the wheels of progress that we tend, as passengers, to take for granted. Just last night my wife and I watched a documentary on a sixteen story ocean liner and the incredible background activity that precedes embarkation. A single mislaid passport can hold untold people up in a concert of effort to get things right. We each are so dependent on others. We each are so responsible for others. We each leave impressions, each to each, in a synthesis of smiles and well wishes and taking care. Stacey, of United Airlines, left that impression on me. A model of courtesy and consideration, she ensured for my every comfort. To be pushed by a small person with a big heart is a great privilege. To be conveyed by the passage of history itself, is actually a thrill. Let us not become blasé about trains, plains, boats and automobiles. Let us go!