Imaginary Distance

Distance isn’t what it used to be.

When I was in grade school, living in Alameda, we went on a field trip. It couldn’t have been more than a half-hour drive. One of the chaperones told us that in the era of horse-drawn carriages people would take vacations up to the Berkeley hills. It would take them a whole day to get there, and they would stay for a WEEK. The journey was too far; travelers wanted to take full advantage of their time.

But this isn’t the case anymore. Commuters spend an hour in the car and they end up fifty miles away, and don’t think twice about it. It’s just the norm. These days, distance is a mental phenomenon, since physical distance has been trumped by bikes, cars, airplanes. With about 36 hours of determination, you can be nearly anywhere else in the world, provided you have the money. Instead, people put distance between themselves mentally. Don’t come over here, I don’t want you here. You can work across the street from somebody, but since you fell out you’ve both altered your routines so as to not see each other, hopefully not even think about each other.

You may even be right next to someone, but they are worlds away.

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