This week is Arizona's launch of the first Light Rail. It's free to all this week and all were there. We took the kids for this bit of historic experience and enjoyed the outing. I loved showing Zane the yellow A on the mountain I used to run up in college (for fun! and tight buns!) and the stadium where I used to walk past for parking 3400 miles away from campus and all the places that are the same in addition to those that have closed down or been turned into something new. Visiting your old college town with your kids is a trippy thing.
The best part of the whole experience was realizing people in Arizona do not know how to ride public transportation. It will be a community that will be learning together how to do the train commute thing. It was strange to me how familiar it felt getting onto a public space that moves ungracefully and packs with people invading my private space. How the subway, LIRR, Underground, PATH, and Bart were experiences I had to figure out while blending into a society that already knew how to do it. All I had to do was look around to figure it out; watch the tenured traveling folk.
But in Arizona it's a gathering of people learning how to do this for the first time in most instances. Things like how to stuff their bodies in quickly before the doors close, step into the middle so more people can get on, where to put your bike (not over my baby's head please!), how to hold on to a bar so you don't fall into my lap after each stop, how to control your kid in Heeleys (Lord help me I hate those things. mostly when they are rolling over my toes.), and how to move out of the way to let people off. There are all sorts of public traveling ettiquette and expectations that are only learned by experience and it was fun to watch and think about the learning and the people together figuring it out. It was like a giant social experiment.
I love the feeling of it being so new and touching it, being part of it. It reminded me of the Subway Series. Although I am not a big baseball fan, I loved being part of New York when the Mets and Yankees played during the Wolrd Series. Especially once I learned how rare that actually happens! And then after work one day I saw a brand new subway train roll up to my feet. It was crisp, sharp, edgey, and beautiful! I wanted to lick it, it was that squeaky clean. And it had both The Mets and Yankee logos painted tastefully on either side of each door. It was like Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx were all holding hands and singing Christmas Carols. Not really Staten Island cos no one really cares about that place. And don't even get me started on the the delicious cleanliness and updated colors of the inside of the subway cars and their pretty seats. I was afraid of soiling them with the lint from the back side of my pants. It felt good to live in New York that day.
And while we did not pass anything on our path as exciting as a wall with the words Times Square placed neatly into the historic tile of a wall during our adventure, it felt good to experience something new to Arizona. It felt good to live here today.