Pedro Ávila

It’s a good thing I don’t do this every day. It’s a good thing I have to choose what to write about and what topics to leave behind. Seriously. If this little piece of internet real estate were a reflection of the scattered and multifarious topics of thought that are constantly shooting between my neurons I think I might quickly have a lot of questions to answer from concerned people I know in the psychiatry business.

I’d probably lose any chance of holding a steady job too if word got out about how completely demented and indiscriminate all my thoughts add up to being sometimes. When you throw computer science and project management sales concepts into the mix of raw emotion, poetry, worry and dark delinquency that is already in here it becomes amazing that I can do half of what people accuse me of being good at without warping my face into a twisted explosion of confusion and conflict.

And that can’t happen, friends, as it would render me largely unemployable. And I’m a man who likes to be occupied, so the next thing you know I’d be going mad and knocking the hats off of strangers and scribbling gibberish on the windshields of cars parked at the airport. Besides, I have too many things right now that I just kinda need to get out of my head. So I may as well choose a topic and go with it.

Public transportation. Yeah. That’s a good one.

Public transportation is the apex of culture. Trains, buses, ferries, even airplanes – these are places where people congregate without the intent of congregation, but for the sole reason that they all have a common course. Anywhere else that people congregate it’s because they have something to share, something to observe, something to obtain. But not on public transportation. Here we’re all going somewhere, being ourselves with no one to impress, with no act to deliver.

Culture is about people, their differences and their similarities and the results of their interactions. Action-reaction; cause-effect. At the root of it lies understanding. Understanding of motives, of processes, of emotion; the irrational and the rational.

Knowing that and understanding it is a powerful thing, and nowhere else is there a better vantage point within civilization than on public transportation, where people are mostly idle, lost in a moment of self-something. Waiting to arrive.

Nowhere else are their faces so bearing of the signs and scars of whatever happenings have befallen them in their time. Nowhere to their faces tell their fantastic tales so clearly, so honestly. Nowhere else do you get such tall stories of happiness, confusion and suffering with so little else like politics, agendas and insecurities to muddle up the story.

A Native American man sits in the seat adjacent mine and I let my eyes fall slightly off the pages of my book to see his story etched upon his face. The woman in the green windbreaker with a mini-bottle of vodka and an unlit cigarette clutched in her trembling fists is still writing her ending. The girl behind me is an open book with her Uggs and shopping bags getting off at Powell station.

What a piece of work is man.

The rest of the train drifts, not just along the tracks but along the stories of the people. So many stories entering and leaving, so many unknown endings. It’s just as well. Many stories have no clear start and therefore no clear end. They just fizzle off the page when the paper runs out, and that’s not the kind of moral I enjoy.

… neither are posts like this one.

Pedro Ávila Pedro Ávila

For a reasonably sane & productive member of society (arguable, but let’s not complicate things), I’m far too mobile and unrooted. I travel quite a bit for a job that is simultaneously my greatest privilege and my worst burden.

So I write. And I write. Travel pieces, political journalism (a stretch from ranting but, still), short stories, poetry and other such riff-raff. I contribute to a handful of publications and will probably just keep going until something gives out, or someone gives in.


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