Growing up I watched the Jetsons. I loved the flying bubble cars that zoomed across their skies. Though I knew our vehicles weren’t made of glass, none-the-less, I knew we existed in bubbles insulated from the world, driving the roads in our own private universe.
Since taking MARTA , I gave up my bubble but remained insulated in my own private world…. until two weeks ago when the train abruptly stopped over interstate 400….. as it wavered for the longest minute of our lives….we began talking…worrying… for the first time I saw the people sharing this bubble with me.
I met boys deploying to Iraq the next day sharing their experiences and the pain of leaving their wives and children behind….flight attendants on their way to the airport… little kids with their parents telling me their favorite part of school…. Upper classmen and first years at my law school, getting advice and reciprocating….
But the starkest encounters are with the people I never encounter … I see them and I wonder about their lives. The young man in the business suit holding a folder tightly in his lap…. is it a resume for an important interview? The tired mother with two children in strollers and one in her arms as she struggles to shephard them in and out…The old man looking vacantly out the window…. The young painters dashing out of breath into the train anxiously checking their cell phones… the boy standing by the door wiping tears from his eyes… the two teenagers skipping class, smiling and glancing nervously… the girl far too young to be doing what she clearly does….
There are people of different races and different economic classes… people whose lives will never intersect but for a short while, on the MARTA as we inhabit so very briefly, the same universe.