Wednesday, November 6, 2013

on the train tracks

I had a unique experience of being "on the road" this past Friday when my Bohemianism class went on a poetry tour in D.C. We began our trip by meeting at the corner of Charles and Coldspring to take the 11 bus down to Penn Station. It was a dark, windy, and rainy morning, with leaves blowing everywhere. It was really spooky for the day after Halloween, but I was excited to venture off into the metropolis of D.C. Taking mass transportation like the bus or the train is so different from driving a car because you are really inserted into the community. You get to see all different kinds of people in their various stages of life. When we got on the train I saw a lot of people dressed in business clothes so I could tell they were heading off to work. I didn't see too many professionals taking the bus, which is another interesting note. We took the MARC train down and the best part was looking out the window and seeing all the beautiful fall colors on the trees as we passed by. One of the things that a bus, car, and train all have in common is windows. Everywhere I was that day I had a place to look out of. The viewer has to decide whether the window is a shield that is taking away from their view or a lens that helps put things in focus. Another great part of traveling in D.C. was taking the metro. Because I hope to be a city-dweller someday (I haven't made up my mind which city yet, but I hope NYC!) I was so enthralled when we would go into the metro station, swipe our cards, wait for the metro, and then finally get in. I looked around at the other people waiting for the metro and thought about what they do in D.C. and why they were there. I tried to blend in (I even picked out my outfit from what I thought would look well in D.C.)but because we were traveling as a group, blending in wasn't too easy. I feel like in On the Road, blending in can be difficult too because you are wandering from place to place and may need to step out your comfort zone and ask questions and directions and things like that. As we get deeper into the semester I am finding many similarities between my Bohemianism class and the Travel Literature class. In Bohemianism we discuss how the Bohemian person has a sense of displacement and doesn't belong anywhere but the cafe where he can belong with other poets and hipsters who also don't belong. The Bohemian is someone who wanders or travels from place to place where he makes self-discoveries. It is also interesting to note that the Bohemianism class is also reading On the Road because we are going to talk about beat poetry soon. In On the Road the car is the central image that creates stability, for though he drives across America to many different locations, one thing remains the same, the car. As one looks for meaning and eventually finds self-discovery it is nice to know that some things never change. Its comforting to know this and it helps to not be as hesitant about change. For me going to live in a city will be a period of self-discovery and as I traveled in D.C. last Friday I tried to imagine myself being one of the individuals I saw getting on the metro. I think that I'm starting to become ready for that next step in my life when I am going to be scared about the future and what comes next but also the excited about the unknown and that anything could happen. I suppose that this is the theme of youth and I may be naive to think this way but it's all I know right now.

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