This is the last pic of a typical “big shoot” that I took on my commute home for the weekend recently. I hadn’t done any “big shoots” for a while. I felt that I had better use it or lose it, and since I was sitting near the window, I did just that (used it). I only took 2 of the interior solely, and this was one of them.
Besides the ticker tape-y date and time scrolling at the front of the bus, I was noticing that the emergency exit was open. In the days before A/C, this was one way, in addition to open windows, that bus riders could avoid entirely suffocating in the heat. Except that evening, it wasn’t hot (it was actually cool), there was wind, and the A/C was on. What then, was it the general odor that was making the bus driver gag? Admittedly, having fabric on the bus sets is a really dumb idea, both buses and subways here have them, and they are pretty unhygienic.
But anyway, mitigating use-stinkage aside, I gravitated toward this photo today because of the potential of having an escape exit, however small, as this one is. Even the ability to see the sky above was a reminder to me that as much as you may feel trapped, even while moving, there is an outside, and it is accessible. What you are traveling in is not a situation with absolute power over you forever. Maybe for a time. Till you notice that the outside still exists, that you can see it, and therefore, when you get out you will no longer be “in” what you feel is holding you back.
Only just recently do I not only feel that I am now “outside,” but that the vehicle which I have been in just fell apart, like a paper box which was held together with tape that finally decayed. Opened up, flap by flap, in a rush. Till I was standing on top of a flat puzzle, that I could walk on top of and off of.
What was in that puzzle was like a neighbor you were kind of friendly with, who acquired an attack dog, and allowed it to bite you, blaming you for the attack, rather than disciplining their attack dog. A neighbor who was friendly sometimes, when say, they wanted a cup of sugar from you, but then other times allowed their dog to shit in your garden (somehow the dog knowing quite accurately where your garden was located), and watching them do it, because they were setting you up to have a confrontation with the dog, who was always going to win anyway. And who you never wanted to fight in the first place. But which confrontation would have been for the owner and their dog, uh… a turn on to watch?…
Finally, the misleadingly friendly neighbor and their attack dog moved out of the neighborhood. For a few days, you’re not sure if they’ll move back in. You’re kind of PTSD from trying to walk on the sidewalk when you guess correctly that they won’t be around, that they won’t enjoy another attack on you in public (public is the best). I guess in the age of “Be Best” this would be considered bullying?
So yeah, finally, FINALLY, the bullies move away. And it’s like you’ve reached the shore after treading water in the sea for days, weeks, months, years, to not get noticed by the sharks below. And then you reach the shore, and you’re too tired to do much of anything but lie there. All you know is, you’re super tired, and you were able to stop being in a place where you didn’t know when what was underneath was going to hurt you. A bit like yeah, escaping abusers.
And then, you notice that the escape exit is open, and the sky is up there. And there’s fresh air coming down to you now and then. And it’s real.
And then you get out of the bus, and no one’s on the sidewalk, and it’s wide, and you can walk. You can walk home. And you can go back to a bus. Even one you’ve ridden before. And you can be yourself. And no one’s going to hurt you like that anymore. EVER.