It’s weird to ride public transit these days. I look up from the pages of a book I’m reading only to be faced with a sea of iphones and kindles–hardly a printed paper or bound novel in sight. Each device is plugged into a human who sits closed off in their own world. While I do understand the importance of being able to remove oneself from the situation of a too-cramped BART car, the strangeness of having so many people in one space with such an absence of human interaction is a hard one for me to grasp. Sometimes I get lost in the solitude without realizing that I am being rude and blatantly staring at the woman trying to apply mascara between the jolts of the train breaking or the man playing Words With Friends on his phone between sips of coffee or the mother trying to keep ahold of a little one’s hand while balancing what appears to be this week’s groceries on her hip. Today I spent about five minutes looking at a man who had a can of beer concealed under his jacket, although not all that well I might add because his red face and labored movements evinced his intoxicated state and resulted in him showcasing his beer can to the rest of the BART car. Though it was only three in the afternoon, I tried not to judge but considered where he was coming from and where he was going. Did a bad day at the office lead to this early train home and a few too many beers? Was he was headed home to a house full of screaming children and this was just a way to take the edge off? A hundred other questions filled my mind before I realized I was staring and resigned to checking my email. I am aware that I will never know any of these people and yet I feel oddly connected to them as I hurtle towards home after work, wedged between the icy window and a family of four’s set of rolling luggage. We are all trying to get somewhere. All headed towards something. All working to get to that next place, that next step, that next bus ride home.