Light Rail Diaries: Meet Liz

Meet Liz,  adult artist in View From the Tracks: The Light Rail Plays, paired with Monica, youth artist

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Light Rail thoughts…

If I didn’t have to get to multiple places in a day and was a little less lazy I would take public transportation. But I have a car and I live in Phoenix, so I drive. But I love transit that is slower. I love taking the bus when I’m in Mexico, riding my bike, walking, or taking the train, metro, T or whatever mode of transit that exists in the city I find myself. Because then it’s all about the people and the place. People you may never think twice about take on life. Restaurants and repair shops and hidden flowers suddenly exist.

I find it incredible that in any given moment one person could be experiencing the best day of their life while the person that almost brushes their shoulder is experiencing the worst day of their life. And this is true everywhere. But for some reason on public transit it seems heightened. You have people thrown together whose only potential connection is that they are all headed in the same direction.

I drive past a light rail stop (actually I sit at the red light at the left turn lane on Indian School and Central) almost every day. Yesterday, a man in a dress shirt that didn’t quite fit and a tie that didn’t quite match missed his train. He was screwed. At least, those were his words (well, sorta). And by the way he flailed his arms and gritted his whole face, it seemed true. And I wondered does he make up one of the many ‘father is not present’ – for the hearing that will determine custody of his child?

On the light rail a brother and a sister sit next to each other. Gangly legs, slouching into one another. Familiarity and affection and annoyance all at once. Their parents sit across the aisle. The boy has a phone and the rights to a game. The girl waits for her turn. The parents talk jumbled, sliding words, drink and gaze into each other’s dazed eyes. And their beautiful, vibrant kids giggle and push and bounce. The kids switch to a good old fashioned hand game. I’m enamored with their rhymes and squabbles, the girl standing across from them smiles. The parents only acknowledgment is to take the phone back.

Now it’s easy for me to sit and make my observations. For me public transit has always been a choice, never a necessity. It is pure grace that I have these choices and this freedom to observe. I must acknowledge that I am exceedingly rich. The perpetual question then is, if I have been so blessed what will I do?

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