To experience rush hour is to feel the pulse of a city.
Rush hour is a little different everywhere: in most Chinese cities it’s rush hour even when it is not—you can hear the noise and breathe in the urgency even if it’s Saturday morning and you are just checking out what’s on offer in the neighborhood market; in London the tubes are packed and the sidewalks are jammed with people, yet it is always surprisingly quiet—no one talks, no one honks; in Bangkok rush hour is greeted with a certain poetic calmness-- the streets are in total gridlock and nothing moves, and there people are, leisurely going about getting their morning routines of saccharine-filled coffees, chilli-dipped fruits and breakfast treats in smoldering heat, and no one is the least bit surprised to see an elephant walk by with flashing rear lights.
All the huzzle and buzzle in preparation for the anti-climax: the moment rush hour is over, when everything returns to “normal”, and the buzz is over, the adrenaline and stress levels come down, and one might begin to wonder, “what was that rush all about?!”
Cities everywhere, their inhabitants are experiencing their very own, personal rush hours, too. Self-imposed or not, we go from rush from one deadline to another, as if the second we stop rushing, the pulse would stop.
As babies, our mothers were anxious to potty-train us so we could enroll in kindergarten (or is this unique to Chinese mothers?)
Then rush to our sweet 16, to the driving test.
Then made rush to college, sorority/fraternity “rushes”, and a mad dash to the finishing line that is graduation.
Then to our first job, our first promotion.
Then the rush to get married before the big 3-0.
Then onto the first mortgage, the first taste of permanence.
Then the urgency to do something great in our “Jesus year”.
Then the baby-rush.
Then our babies go through the routine all over again.