I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona about 8 PM last night. As I expected, while rush hour was long over, the Interstate and main roads in this city located in the middle of the desert were packed with cars, all, seemingly, in a hurry to get somewhere. The question always crosses my mind when I arrive in virtually any major or medium sized city (and more and more, even in small cities) where is everyone going?
Yes! It's true, there are a few people like me, travelers passing through, maybe staying for a few days, but not permanently locating in the particular city. There are also the 18 wheelers and tandem trucks transporting all the worldly goods of every description from one place to another. Commerce is what keeps a country like the U.S. alive. But, what about most of the vehicles all driven by local residents. Where are they all going and why?
I'm sure there are far more reasons for going to all kinds of local places then I have the patience to listen to. Worse, yet, when I lived in built-up, congested areas of the country, I know I was one of those vehicles. But, now, after realizing that my time is priceless, resources are not unlimited and I'd rather be sitting quietly in a dark desert or forest or at a secluded lake or ocean beach taking in the billions of stars, watching for the occasional shooting star and, perhaps, sharing a conversation with a few like minded people about the meaning of our lives, I don't get it anymore. What was so important in my life back when I was one of "Them" that I had to be on the roads creating congestion and pollution (sound, light and environmental)?
Morning in Phoenix
I dozed off about 12:30 AM after a friendly and enjoyable phone call from my friend back in West Virginia where I hang my hat and work on My McVansion when I'm back east. I had some wifi available from the Sam's Club parking lot I gained permission to spend the night in and caught up on some of the TV talent series "The Voice" until I was too tired to watch any longer.
It was a restful sleep . . . until about 5:45 or 6:00 AM this morning when I awoke to the sound of . . . yep . . . speeding cars, pick-up trucks, delivery vehicles and 18 wheelers and tandem trailer trucks. There they were again. Everyone in a rush to get somewhere. And, of course, I'm only picking on Phoenix because I'm here this morning, but it's the same in every major city and metropolitan area.
Sometimes it causes me to ask the question, "What hath man wrought with the invention of steam, gasoline combustion, diesel and electric propulsion?" I shouldn't be casting stones since I am far from without guilt. But, have we created a world that is so complicated and busy that there is little time left for real "downtime?" Seriously, it's virtually impossible to find anywhere in the U.S. including the middle of a secluded desert where there isn't some kind of reminders of modern society. As, I wrote that last sentence, I jet liner flew overhead to add to the sound pollution of the constant drone of the traffic.
Am I wrong to think we need to have some serious break from the light, sound and congestion pollution? As I was camped out in the desert near Quartzsite, Arizona, a couple of the people I was there with were checking the schedules to see when they could view the moving dot in the sky that is the ISS - the International Space Station. If, indeed, there is a God, is God not WE! But, that is a very deep and complex topic indeed. So, I'll reserve that for another time.
Meanwhile, I will continue on with my plans and projects for the day, none of which require me to bust my behind quarters. They are just things I want to achieve for my own convenience and satisfaction. I hope, wherever you are, you have a pleasant and relaxed day and can minimize your exposure to all the sound, light and congestion pollution and have a fulfilling day.