Cruising with the Spirit of the City

I’ve been told that for Shakespeare, England is always a character. England motivates and moves the action of the play.

I recently discovered a character, Tim “Speed” Levitch, who gives tours of New York City and who is the subject of an existential and metaphysical rant of a documentary called The Cruise.

He tells the story of his city, New York, from the same heroic perspective. The City is a character.

The title of the movie comes from his concept of the motion of life. It’s a cruise, a magnificent and glorious forward motion.

In the interview I heard with Tim Levitch, he brought up another kind of forward motion: the commute. The commute is when all parts of me are focused on the goal of BEING THERE.

When I am going to work, I am commuting and I want to be THERE. Especially when I am commuting home.

The streets in California–wait, the highways–have a complete character all their own. They have a life and a will that is implacable and must be reckoned with.

A consciousness, as I am beginning to see.

If I am in the city, and in the traffic, on my commute, and all I am focused on is BEING WHERE I AM NOT YET, then I miss so much of where I am.

The mindset of the commute robs me of my life. I am commuting so often, not only on my way to work and back, but also when I am at those destinations. I live in the future of when THIS project will be done, when THIS goal will be achieved.

I miss the now. It doesn’t even exist when I am so goal focused. I don’t even exist.

I recognize this in my life. I come in and out of that mentality.

I will get caught up in the goal, the desired end, and forget myself and forget who, what and where I am.

And my discomfort increases.

At which point I shake myself into awareness again.

 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help [psalm 121]

That’s what I see on my commute. Hills. And when I look up to my beautiful surroundings, I remember that my goals and my problems have a bigger context.

There is a whole world of beauty and love out there.

These roads are part of it too. The paint is just lines and dots. They are part of the city, not all of it. Even if they are the part I am most intimate with.

We are in this world together, agents of destiny. My desire is to add to the glory and beauty of this cacophony. With intention. Where I am.

I’ll get where I’m going in good time.