Time for another quality Quinn Lanzon post. This time he muses on the link between movement and words.
READING AT THE WHEEL
There are a slew of fancy mantras about the experience of traveling from point A to point B. Can’t recite any offhand, but they tend to follow a trope where sometimes the commute can be more rewarding than the destination. Good thing whoever coined this anecdotal nonsense covered their ass by qualifying the occasional nature of such an unlikely possibility! For the great majority of adventures, especially in the case where the means are public transit (plains, trains, autobuses), the time spent hurtling from one location to another with unprecedented speed, efficiency, and in great comfort is no more than a forgettable bookend to the whole travel experience. Memorable moments of mobilization are rare, and the few gems are most often tied to unforeseen circumstances involving new or improved friendships, hardships, or fried chips. Individual relocation is different. Hundreds of combined solitary highway drives between Aylmer, Montreal, Bromont, Lennoxville, Allumettes-Island, Mont-Sainte-Marie, Mont-Sainte-Anne or Toronto have offered little more than time to think, enjoy music, make phone calls, play the cruise control game, practice signing, and the occasional exotic trip well above the speed limit. These drives are means to ends, means that fray out from heart and home to reach out to the experiences and people at the ends. These veins of mobility are the means that strengthen the ends that makeup our identity, and no matter how illusive that identity may be, it is a composite of where you were and how you got there. In this geography of the world, driving is a necessary means to the ends of experience, and in my educational landscape of mind, reading books is the means endured to move towards the end of understanding self and surroundings.
Relocation is not a strictly physical experience; although mind and body are coterminous, training and improving the former (for the student of the human science) is achieved through much less exhilarating means than the latter (for the student of adrenaline). Books are the current highways of my cerebral stimulus. Books have allowed me to understand and analyze the world through a lens I would never have looked through independently, because, after all, these books are not being read by choice. Books are placed in front of me in a syllabus and absorbed as the means to educational ends regulated beyond my control. Power over the content funnelled into my dome may be out of my jurisdiction, but criticism and contextualization of this content are not. Curriculum is the means to the end of a desired academic formation largely that is a reflection of past and contemporary scholarship. Thus, education is not and is not about assignments and grades; it is about the growth and experience brought on by interacting with courses and educators. Books and word documents are the means to a personal end, but the societal signposts of degrees and diplomas are not the true ends, nor should they be the goals. The words you read and the documents you produce should reflect however it is that you perceive them and persevere on the day to day. Reading just happens to be a big part of the game, and like driving on the highway, is a mean that structures and bonds the ends you seek and produce.
The funny thing about the rambling rant above is this: I intended to write a lighthearted piece on the parallels between driving and reading. These two actions were chosen because they are both mundane necessities that lead to exceptional realities. I would never decide to just go for a drive, and very rarely do I read a book for fun; neither of these activities alone is particularly enticing. However, a two-hour drive to the skatepark, in January, will definitely result in a greaser from Jimbo’s (coffee from Tim Hortons) and the cost of a tank of gas, but it may also involve the memorable experience of learning a new trick or boosting a quarterpipe higher than ever before. Reading a book on the history of coal mining in Nova Scotia, or the Saint Lawrence River will definitely fill your brain with sweet data on the world of back in the day, but it could also hold an inspiring metaphor for French Canadian nationalism or the true nature of Canadian identity! In the end, highways and books will always be a part of who I am because they are the veins that connect my mind to the vital sinews of experience. I’m sure this is the same for you, because, as Neil Peart said, “after all, everyone is a reflection of me”.
Keep on moving friends.