A commute can tell you something about a place that interviews with people will not. You get to see wider surroundings at-a-glance while your head spins, thinking about what it is that you’re actually seeing. You notice texture: of a district, neighborhood, and community. You get a feel: the narrative it tells through public messages, the age of things, its color, material, and how form dictates the day’s procession, the people and things in motion. You fill in the blanks about life and lives taking care to distinguish what appears to be fact from the fiction you silently write.
During a trip to the coal mines of Southwestern, PA in the dead of winter our team shared rides with mine reps — the only way in and out. Life above ground was Rockwellian, quiet, predictable. Below ground, anything but.