|Centennial Park, Nashville|
I don't use these posts to air reader's comments, mostly, because there is a space aplenty at the bottom of the blog for that, and any comment on their comment can be rendered there.
But this email, well, while it touches upon a small matter, there is a universal truth in it, so I am sharing it here.
A regular reader, whose name I shall shield, writes:
A recent column re: riders crossing around the gates, brings to mind another train problem that I have.
Freight trains taking enormous amounts of time at crossings.
Aside from just having annoyed motorists ramming the freight cars, would this make for an interesting column?
You contact the National Transportation Agency, (I assume they oversee the railroads in the country), and suggest that FREIGHT TRAINS RUN ONLY DURING NITETIME HOURS).
I, for one, would anxiously await their answer.
"You contact the National Transportation Agency"? What am I, a short-order cook?
But that wasn't my reply.
I read his note on my iPhone, riding the train home Monday night. And it struck me, that not only had he missed the entire point of the crossing column—avoid pointless hurry, be safe, wait—but he was missing it in dramatic fashion. I wrote back:
Wouldn't it be easier for you try practicing patience, before you set out to recast the rail freight system in the country? Just a thought.Not to pick on this guy, who at least is civil. But how often is there a problem where, rather than make a slight change to ourselves, we instead prefer to endeavor to recast the whole world? As if that were easier. This is nothing profound—"Better to light a candle," as the saying goes, "than to curse the darkness." As if it were some physical law: we don't change; somebody else should. We see people doing that all the time. They try to yank books out of libraries—I don't want to see this so nobody should see this. They try to convert the world to their faith, rather than attempt to wrap their heads around the implications of other people believing other things.
It seems a symptom of always being right, in your own head. Maybe I'm getting zen in my old age. But I've begun to realize that, usually, the solution involves, not an impossible recasting of reality, but a far less difficult (though still sometimes hard) rejiggering of myself. I wasn't even fully aware of the dynamic, which is why I'm sharing the reader's email. Hmm, be more patient as freight trains pass OR endeavor to shift all freight trains to run during the night time, when nobody could possibly be bothered ... hmmm ... I wonder which one I should try?
Not to end on a negative note, but the reader did not reply. Perhaps investigating ways to shut down the entire email system.