Comfort zone

I started a new job recently.  The new job requires me to drive to downtown Portland.  Even though my new job is only 15 miles away, it often takes a little over an hour to get there.  It is pretty much stop and go the whole way.  I also have to pay $5.25 to park at a parking garage. 

This past week, I decided to take “the Max” (trimet.org).  I drive about a quarter of the way there and then park at a park and ride and catch the Max from there.  The cost is about $4.25 a day if I pay for a month in advance, so it is a little cheaper taking Max than paying for parking and I don’t have to fight the traffic.

I have never really liked big cities.  I can’t describe it, but I get an almost suffocating feeling being downtown in any large city for any length of time.   I like quiet open spaces.  The hustle and bustle just isn’t my thing.

So, I am now driving to a park and ride then taking one train and then transferring to another one.  I now am dealing with “the public” in very close quarters.  The people who ride the Max come from every walk of life and run the social gamut from gang bangers wearing their gangs colors all the way up to well to do financial types with their expensive suits.  You are approached by people trying to work a scam on you and panhandlers asking for money*.  You see it all. 

I am definitely out of my comfort zone for lots of reasons.  I began to wonder why this is.  Why was I uncomfortable?  Then it hit me.  I have been avoiding the human condition.  I don’t want to see these people and their lives.  I didn’t want to smell them (trust me, you do riding in a cramped environment like that).  I didn’t want to hear them talking about this, that, and the other.  I wanted to be left alone and in my car insulated from all of this. 

You notice a theme here?  I, I, I, I…….

It is time I expanded my thinking and really started if not enjoying the whole experience at the very least saw the reality of it all.  For whatever reason, I am supposed to learn some lessons from this experience.  I am out of my comfort zone and that might not be such a bad thing.  I was more worried about my comfort and insulating myself from life than living life and experiencing it as it arises.

*A pandhandler guy in his early twenties came up and was asking in soft voice “do you have any extra pennies?” It was obvious he wasn’t in a good place.  He looked very unhealthy, he probably was a meth head as he had the sores of habitual meth user.  He smelled strongly of mold and mildew and BO.  I ignored him.  He moved on to the next person.  As I watched him go down the train asking for money, only one person gave him some money and then he got off the train.  I started feeling guilt.  I felt ashamed.  Was this the type of person I was?  I hope not.  I decided from that point on, I would keep some spare change in my pocket.  The first person who asked for it that day, got it.

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About bradymacdonald
Just a dood in the toobs.

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