Thursday, April 15, 2010

the world of transportation

i'm sitting in the church nursery (yes, there's a reason, and no, it's not important) and thinking about cars. (no, not the plastic ones with which i'm surrounded. the real ones. i know, i know: just hang on and keep reading.)

as i walked out of work the other day, en route to the carpool line at luke's school, i was struck by what i saw in the parking lot. leaving the building, i was faced by a row of silver and gold (oddly enough, perfectly alternating, which is probably why it struck me) compact cars. the pattern was only interrupted by my big blue minivan, which stuck out like a sore thumb. i had only ten minutes and a few miles to go before my big blue minivan would be just one of many big blue (or silver or gray or red or black) minivans. but here in this office parking lot, i was far and away the only one. or should i say my van was far and away the only one? no, it was i who was the only one.

what i got to thinking about was how obvious it is sometimes what world we inhabit. for those whose primary place in the world is work, like most--if not all--of my marketing colleagues, a silver or gold compact car is the tool for the the to-and-fro. but just a few miles away were the people who drive the same tool i do, filled, just like mine, with car seats and scooters and soccer balls and picture books, not to mention a healthy assortment of empty juice boxes and granola bar wrappers and fast food napkins (gasp! never!) as well.

add to that the fact that i sit in the church nursery right now, blogging and answering emails. it gets a girl thinking about her place is all.

what am i doing driving a minivan full of mommy debris to work? dragging editing work around in my carpool-mobile? am i trying to live two separate lives at once? and as for the netbook in the church nursery?

i have prematurely (and hopefully not permanently) graduated from the absorbed-by-minivan phase of life to the drives-a-compact-car phase. i don't have any kids at home to keep me in touch with the playgroup set, but i'm also not yet ready to jump into the now-that-all-my-kids-are-in-school world. my friends are either absorbed by potty training and sleepless nights or kids learning to drive and heading off to college. i am neither.

which is just one more way i inhabit a space that is very sparsely populated.

even as my friends cannot, in many significant ways, meet me in my grief, solely (and thankfully) for not having experienced it themselves, so they cannot meet me in my compact-car-versus-minivan conundrum. they live in one world or the other, not somewhere in between like i do. grief can be isolating, the books tell you. but no one mentioned the loneliness of an empty minivan or the conspicuousness of not driving a four-door.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Isolation is an emotion that doesn't have boundaries. I have not lived your experiences, but I have lived your emotions...not grief, mind you. But isolation, loneliness, confusion about where to go and what to do next... You're not alone!