Each and All

(29-30 January 1989) after Ralph Waldo Emerson

Other commuters probably don’t think they are in your way to make you late. The clown who cuts across the light isn’t trying to make you mad. But you probably wish it were not so. You probably wish you had control over the young woman afraid to merge, over the bull-necked man on your bumper, but if they think of you, you are the same to them as a thousand other people. None of you is solely responsible; none of you is completely free from blame. When you get home, you are still grimacing; you glare at your family as if through glass; you hunch over your plate like a steering wheel; you turn on the television as if you were in control. So you went out to buy a stereo and it sounded great in the listening room maybe only because what the salesman played was exotic, something you’d never buy. You’re already tired of your old albums and you don’t know anything you could get that your family would want to hear. You’re trapped, and need to think about your trap. It’s what you wanted at the time, or what you could decide, given your views of parts within the whole.