Riding sidways on the bus (that is, seating yourself so that your view is out the side windows and not forward), you face head-on what you are really only supposed to see peripherally. The pencil and autocad-pushing ladies and gents who lovingly concoct our cities, towns, villages, and even our gated, gilded class-battlements, don’t typically account for the passenger perspective that looks at their handiwork askance, so to speak.
Alleyways and natty neighborhood cinder block walls (those that separate, as effectively as a sheet of paper might, lush green back lawns from gusty exhaust-fogged thoroughfares), side streets and jarring undeveloped meadows that threaten to disrupt the urban dream immersion; these elements stare fleetingly in at you through fist-streaked bus windows, an enormous book out there; cityscape as the fanning pages of a book. The designers and urban planners lay everything very carefully out in order that our helpless headlong motion through the civic space is informed by soothing symmetries, the glossy whizzing by of visually linear shapes and objects, a bleary and satisfied projection forward into the fabric-covered heart of the vanishing point. Viewed from the side, though, the city takes on a wholesome new persona undisguised by all this design fretting, and you see the byways and side streets and middle-distant, starthistle-choked parcels that describe an accident in happy, infinite freefall. As it should be.
Later the bus pivots stiffly to the left and climbs a little hill on approach to the university. The morning sun, humping itself over the self-same ocean for the estimated 2.2 trillionth time, laying down upon the undulating water its painterly and overdone stripe of gold, pours in through 30 feet of Metro Transit District window and you close your bespectacled eyes to receive it. Ellipsis here.