Into Traffic

Steven Lee Gilbert

There is a street and on it the traffic is intense. Cars, Vespas, three-wheeled Apes zipping along, people passing on foot. Oblivious toward me, but not blind. They know I am there, they can see me through the window of the backseat of the car in which I am sitting parked along the curb. A passenger, safe and secure. But also a prisoner, who must, if I am to walk amongst them, open my door and step out.

The street is in a busy part of the town and there are rules in place for this kind thing, exiting a vehicle. Rules, like the one I included above, that place value on safety over haste, caution over chance, reservation over embarrassment. Departing, or in my case, entering the world outside of the refuge I’ve found in the car is made safer, priva di qualsiasi rischio e pericolo, free from any risk or danger, if made through the right side door, the one nearest to the sidewalk and opposite the problematic traffic. L'apertura della portiera di destra.

I know this because number one, it makes the most sense to any seasoned driver and/or parent, and two, I recently failed the Italian license exam by answering that question incorrectly. The reason I did so was partly because I do not have a firm grasp of the language. I have hold of it like a toddler to the hand of a parent. I can see the world beyond, the potential in it, but like that busy, frenzied street, I fear it, too. I am threatened by what it asks of me, by its fluency, its flow. I’m unsure of letting go of the hand. I worry of what might occur if I am on my own.

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