Skip to main content

TOUCH


I spend a fair amount of time, 2-3 hours, every day walking and sitting alongside total strangers.  One of thousands of us - working people who commute from the outlying areas of Boston into it through various means.  Trains, buses, cabs, carpools.  And we all bring our stuff with us.  Backpacks filled with laptops, books, notepads, shoes, lunches, whatever we feel we need to have with us to get us through the next 8 to 10 hours. 
I've been noticing because I have to buy a new purse.  This is something that fills me with fear. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but women judge other women they see (not necessarily women they know) by two visible accessories, shoes and purses.  They can tell you so much about a woman Is she practical or exotic? Is she struggling to pay her bills or one of the lucky ones who doesn't even look at a price tag? Does she walk a long way or just strolling from her car to her office? Is she fashion conscious or does she wear what she likes without regard to fashion?  For example, I wear trek sandals when I'm walking on my commute.  Practical, comfortable, but relatively high price tag.  They will last more than one summer and my feet will be relatively free of calculus and bunions.  This you can tell because I get regular pedicures and my nails always look clean and neat. My feet tell you that I care about my comfort and that I walk a great deal.  I can afford fashionable shoes, but I'm more concerned about the health of my feet than fashion, at least with my fellow commuters. I carry a large satchel and a lunch bag.  It's not a designer brand so that tells you that I have to be careful with my money and I probably prefer to spend my money on experiences than things.  But my things are clean, neat and of good quality.  I want them to last. The size of my purse means I can carry my essentials, wallet, keys, phone, access badge, and my comforts, kindle, sweater and possibly a pair of shoes.  Most of us working women have a shoe collection under our desk at work.  It's just easier;
So here I am, practical, middle income, middle aged.  On the train I sit where I won't impede someone's comfort or exit from the train.  In the morning, I try for a window seat so I can sit there when we reach Boston, until the train is nearly empty.  Then I can start on my way without holding up someone who is in a rush, running to be absorbed in the crowd. I try to stay back, so I can walk at my own pace, behind the pack, watching the variety of backpacks and bags, sweaters and coats, boots and shoes that march in front of me.  Going home, if I'm on the aisle, I try to be learn if the person on the inside of the seat is getting off before or after me.  Again, try to simplify the process.  Salem is often the first stop, so I don't worry about it too much. 
Sometimes, I have to join the throng.  I don't get a seat where I can hold back and wait for my moment.  I have to move so that others can move.  Have to join the press for the door, the crosswalk, the walkway.  In these closer places, I see things that make me want to touch someone. A stray thread, a bit of pet hair, a tag sticking out of the neckline.  I just want to touch them and say - "I see you.  You are a human being.  And I think you'll appreciate this gesture."  I don't do it. I don't invade the space - impossible, invisible barrier we erect around ourselves.
But I long for someone to break the barrier.  For just a touch. To know...I"m still alive, still human, still inside here somewhere.  Just a touch.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Good Man

Roger M Watt - April 8, 1914 - March 27, 1981

My father was a good man.  He was born in Oklahoma 98 years ago today.  He grew up during the First World War and the economic boom of the 20s.  When the bust happened, he moved to Los Angeles with his family.  In 1934, he met my mother at a Halloween Party.  He was 20, she was 15, and he was in love for life.  The raven haired, dark eyed beauty won his heart and his devotion. When my mother became bedridden with tuberculosis, he visited her every day, bringing her books from the library and news of the world.  They married on Father's Day in 1939. 
During the final years of the Second World War, my father was drafted into military service and left my mother with her parents - pregnant with their third child and my brother Jim and sister Judie.  He contracted malaria in the Philippines and spent most of his service in a hospital in Hawaii. 
On March 27, 1946 my parents and their three children moved to Grants Pass, Oregon.  This is w…

Movie Madness - MELANCHOLIA

From the opening moments of Lars VonTrier's latest film MELANCHOLIA (2011), I was hooked.  The exquisite extreme slow motion movement is beautifully orchestrated by Wagner's Prelude to Tristan and Isolde.  We see a bride moving as roots tear at her feet, a mother clutching a child, a horse laying down all as two planets come hurtling toward one another to the inevitable end - the consumption of one planet by another.  It's only later that we learn the larger planet is Melancholia and it is headed toward Earth; because after this beautiful prologue we are thrust into the marriage of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard)*.  Justine and Michael are late for the very elaborate reception being hosted by Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland).  As the evening rolls on, it's clear that Claire is hanging on by the thinnest of threads and Claire and John are frustrated by her reluctance to put on a good sh…

There Be Dragons

So we're one month in to 2012 and it's been kind of rough.  The election mudslinging has started early.  Long term relationships between non-profit organizations are threatened by political machinations.  Major companies pretend to support one lifestyle, cave when threatened by a PAC, then switch again when public opinion cows them.  It's going to be a long year.  I can see lots of unpopular ideas being promulgated and lots of "facts" being tossed around to prove one side or the other as right/wrong - good/bad.  And so I thought I'd make my position known and just refer anyone who wants to drag me into their battle to this post for the next several months.
Like Martin Luther King Jr., "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered…