Just returned from renewing my driver's license at a Dept. of Motor Vehicles location. The scant half-hour I spent in the waiting room made me realize how most of my days are spent in a bubble of exclusivity.
There were moms endeavoring to keep fidgety kids occupied, wailing toddlers, a set of twins in a double stroller, a dad feeding a little one in a front pack....people of all colors, ethnic backgrounds and occupations, senior citizens chatting about this and that, a well-dressed lady editing a manuscript, a guy in scrubs, lots of people in shorts....All of us waiting for the oh so soothing, synthetic female voice to call our number as it drifted by on the LED display.
Most days I drive to work in my car. Alone. Listening to my favorite music on my iPod. At work I'm surrounded by properly scrubbed and attired colleagues, all of us providing service college-age young folk and faculty. If the air-conditioning in our well-kept campus building is turned up too high --or not high enough-- I join in the collective grumbling. If, on my homeward commute, a long queue of cars causes congestion at the next intersection, I complain...because I'll be just a bit later getting home and will not be able to prepare dinner in as leisurely a fashion as I'm accustomed.
Ah, but it's all OK somehow, because I help make the real world a better place by posting activist messages on Facebook and Twitter, signing Internet petitions, and commiserating with other like-minded, isolated individuals....