A few months ago, inspired by the success of my amazingly brilliant friend Harold, I submitted an essay to NPR’s This I Believe series. I wrote about my decision to live without a car, and even though NPR wasn’t feelin’ the piece (or maybe they just take a really, really long time to read submissions), I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise. It helped me realize how much riding the bus reflects my sense of who I am.
Here is the conclusion of the essay:
I believe in sitting next to my neighbors, in “How you doing today?” and “Nice weather, isn’t it?” I believe in feeling the sun on my skin, in breathing fresh air and moving my body. I believe in eavesdropping. I believe in life stories. I believe in businesspeople and teenage lovers, middle-aged gossips and giggling toddlers. I believe in watching and listening. I believe in naps. I believe in the camaraderie that develops among riders late at night, when the smooth-voiced driver plays jazz loud enough for everyone to enjoy.
I believe in clean air, in keeping cities dense and vibrant, and in protecting our remaining farmland and forests. I believe in the beauty of Puget Sound and the majesty of Mount Rainier. I believe in sharing the world’s resources equally, in reverence for human life, and in solidarity with other brown people around the globe.
I believe that change is possible–if more of us ride.
I just read it to my friend Monique, who is visiting from Houston. Her response: “I believe I can fly. Did I tell you I’ve decided on my next hairstyle?” Clearly, the folks at NPR aren’t the only ones who found it tedious. Still, I am bravely posting in hopes of getting a conversation started.
Dear readers, why do you ride?