Every day in San Diego began the same way. I stood packed with other students in a tight lattice of ribs, elbows, and kneecaps, swaying as our rickety shuttle rumbled over the freeway, past a couple malls, and up a eucalyptus-lined hill to the university. The bus ride, just over a mile long, was almost always the most menial nine minutes of my day.
But one morning, the shuttle got stuck in traffic, jittering to a halt in the middle of the freeway overpass. Looking out the window, I found myself staring at the eight lanes of cars below. I was suddenly struck by how many there were—hundreds of hot metal vessels, crawling south to downtown and whizzing north towards Los Angeles. And all around us, there were more cars, patiently humming in three stopped lanes, jammed into parking lots by the road. These cars, I realized, were full of people I had never met and never would meet, each with their own concerns and stories, their own reason for rushing somewhere at 9:15 on a Tuesday morning. And these nameless people around me were barely scratching the surface. Full Article »