Passing Through | Mark Lindsay

If you walk around your neighborhood long enough you begin to see things that casual observers cannot. There are boundaries and borders that are invisible to most, but can be clearly sensed on daily walks. Friendly milestones are everywhere; old parked cars, favorite trees, crooked telephone poles. The familiar is everywhere until you get to a busy street. Then there are the people that are passing through—in a hurry to get somewhere else.

You can always tell when drivers are wishing they were in another place. They remind me of an indifferent conversation at a cocktail party—it's not hard to sense when the conversation has gone stale and eyes glaze over. Cars are the same way. It's as if drivers passing through had their windshields glazed over and are impossibly impatient with the current space and time. Stand at your favorite nearby corner, at a thoroughfare, and try to guess which drivers are passing through and which ones live nearby. Just like the cocktail party, it won't be hard to figure out who's bored and who's glad to be there.

This, of course, raises larger questions. Just who are all these people passing through? It's easy to lump them all together as interlopers or mechanical monsters. Sealed inside their bubbles of plastic and steel they are a blur of color and chrome. Most all of us have driven somewhere and suddenly realized that we missed the journey. Somehow there was something more important than the drive itself. The problems and distractions are so many. So, we are these distracted drivers as soon as we leave the confines of our neighborhood. We drive a little faster, get a little more distracted, can't wait to get somewhere else a little sooner.

We are all just passing through.