Yesterday I wrote to my DC elected officials and to the budget office to let them know how important it is to me that local municipalities fully fund public transportation, as the budget year comes to a close. Metro officials are threatening to close down many bus lines entirely, which will mean that far too many people will be unable to get to work, especially for low-paying jobs. Hundreds of workers are scheduled to be laid off, which means (as an icy cold budgetary matter — the budget after all being a moral document) that they will need services and no longer will be paying taxes. Disrepair, injuries, and accidents will become even more prevalent, and service will be slowed at already overtaxed and overcrowded times. Our air quality will go from yellow/orange to orange/red from the increase in gridlocked traffic. I discussed the issue and the urgency of making our voices heard with several co-workers today.
I left the office at 5:40 pm this evening to go to take Suzie Hurley’s 6:15pm class at Willow Street, Takoma, Park. I was standing on a metro train at 5:46pm. The ride is supposed to take 13 minutes from Judiciary Square metro. We reached Takoma Park at 6:27pm. I went over to the studio when I arrived. If the door was open, I would have looked in and caught Suzie’s eye and quietly seen whether I could slip in. The door was closed, and I could hear that the class had already started doing standing poses. Under circumstances where being late is clearly not my fault (and I try to avoid those by being willing to be early if it turns out the travel has been optimally sequenced), I will join the class just after centering and before the asanas begin. As much as I would have liked to have taken a yoga class after the slow metro ride, I felt that I shouldn’t risk disturbing the other students by coming so late. I instead will be doing a long, deep, slow, inward-moving practice when I am finished writing, corresponding, getting ready for practice and sleep, and doing some preparations for tomorrow’s work day.
In my growing acceptance that I would be arriving too late to Takoma to take class, I thought about the email I had received earlier in the day about the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s “Our Nation’s Checkbook” campaign. The email reminded me that a third of my tax dollars are being spent on war. “What about investing in green jobs, preventing more home foreclosures, and funding diplomacy to prevent wars?” I was asked. “What about public transportation,” I thought, as I sat on the stationary train between stations. “How many trains could be operated efficiently and safely for each fighter aircraft?”
How do I want to live? What are my priorities? When does short-sightedness or immediate personal satisfaction impact my long-term health and happiness and peaceful co-existence on a crowded planet? For what purposes do I practice? How would I like to invite others to live?
The ride home, of course, had nary a problem. A train arrived in under five minutes. The ride back to Union Station was exactly 11 minutes. Everyone had a seat, and the car was nearly full, so it was at perfect capacity. It was still light, and lots of people were out because of the balmy night and the beauteous blossoms, and I felt safe strolling home instead of taking the bus. What a beautiful night!