Saturday, March 9, 2024

Windshields and Rear Windows

Rear facing 3rd seat
Many road miles were viewed as they passed into the distance. This awkward and sometimes nauseating view was experienced from the rear facing seat of a 1960 Ford Fairlane station wagon. As a child it was a treat to get away from the adults in the front seat and my brothers in the second seat. It was also a respite from my dad's choice of AM radio stations. There was one speaker on the top middle of the dashboard. The sound did not travel to the third seat. Watching the world move away from me held some intrigue, but overall it was disorienting. It was the price I paid for space to myself.

Over the years vehicles have changed, but it remains that the windshield is larger than the rear window glass. I rarely look out of the rear window other than with the rear view mirror. In so doing my vision of what is behind me gets very limited. On my latest vehicle, the backup camera gives a wider perspective, but what is behind me still has a limited context. Along with a narrow perspective the rear window often gets obscured by various forms of dirt and grime. Instead of a clear view, what is past gets filtered with an impaired perspective.

As a college history major, I have an interest in the past. The interest lies not in data and dates, but in the 

Wiper cleans some dirt
human actions and responses. The adage of "history repeats itself" has little correlation to specific events. Its connection is deeply rooted in human behavior. The social and psychological influences of individuals and groups remain constant over eons even as technology changes the environment. The need for security as fear is promoted has always narrowed and clouded human action. Seeing through the murkiness of social agitation in order to navigate a forward direction has to be an intentional endeavor. If not, our actions and attitudes turn to the past. We begin to believe that safety and security is found in what is behind us. Just like being settled in the rear facing seat, there is some temporary relief in solitude. Yet overall, we become increasingly nauseated, willing to seek answers from the self-serving and unexamined promises of others. 

As I continue my journey in life, my steps have slowed. I experienced more aches and pains which never fully subside. I trip over slight imperfections as my feet don't rise and flex as they once did. Each step is more plodding and less nimble. There are options and purveyors of promises to make my life better. All I have to do is take a back seat.  However, I choose to sit in the front seat with a vast panorama ahead of me. Even as the siren song of the "Oldies" engulfs me from the surround sound speakers, wooing me into nostalgia, I choose to continue forward. Life, the full spectrum of life is ahead of me. I desire adventure with its freedom and its detours. The windshield provides hope instead of the queasiness of looking at what has passed me by.  

Looking toward what is ahead

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