I use mass transit daily. (bus & train) Surrounded mostly with people similar to myself, the world I see during my daily commute is rather innocuous. When I made the choice to use public transportation, I did so fully realizing that any daytime errands away the downtown area could only be accomplished by riding the bus/train. To visit the dentist today, I rode the #15 bus. Beginning its route at the Charlotte Transportation Center the #15 is usually ‘standing room only’. Even when sitting it is fair to say I “stand out” on that bus. About half way to the end of the route, near a small community some people describe as “da ‘hood”, most passengers exit at the Department of Social Services. My dentist is located at the far end of the route. The world I see on that bus, when I unplug myself from my mp3 player, stop reading email, surfing and listening to voice mail with my BlackBerry and remove my clip-on sunglasses is far, far removed from the world I normally live in.
In the dentist’s waiting room I pick up a recent copy of ‘People’ magazine and begin flipping through the pages. I’m surprised at the overwhelming images of bright, smiling, mostly happy, beautiful people. Well dressed with flawless smiles and skin, they all seem to be experiencing some part of the proverbial “good life”. Even the ones who have taken a personal/professional misstep or fallen out of favor are presented in a way that makes them seem special, even privileged. Plus the advertisements and articles touting all the material items deemed as required to “have it all” is staggering. My name is called and as I place the magazine on the table I realize the world presented in ‘People’ is far, far removed from the world I normally live in.