How is there such a lot of order? Speeding down the New Jersey Turnpike, you pass huge parking lots filled with vehicles. Whether cars or truck trailers or buses or cement mixers, they are invariably parked in near-perfect alignment. The trailers are all parallel, at precisely the same acute angle to the fencing. The cement mixers would make fine photographs: complicated-looking creatures with bulging midriffs, lined up in near-perfection.
Dammit, even the winter-bare stands of trees are in order: same height, same thickness, evenly spaced. How do they do order, in this country?
Looking out at all this from inside a Greyhound bus, old memories filter back: earlier interminable trips, the reason I grew to rather passionately dislike travelling by Greyhound. Sort of a good way to see the country, yes, and certainly better than from 35K feet. But the bus is sealed to near-perfection, too, from the outside world. So much so that however fast it speeds down the NJ Turnpike, not a whiff of breeze stirs the still, increasingly fetid air inside. And it's cold outside, so naturally we need to be warmed inside, so the heating is on at full blast and it wafts up to assault me heatedly from some invisible vent near my window.
Man, give me those open-windowed Haryana Roadways buses, every time!
Thus I sit there, barely able to breathe because the inside of my nostrils feel like coarser and coarser sandpaper, increasingly dehydrated despite constant desperate gulps of water, trying to distract myself with Ian McEwan, Saturday.
And suddenly, it is a distraction. The young woman with a deep voice in the seat across the aisle shifts, and I can't help noticing the vast expanse of midriff that overflows out of the top of her jeans. (I even think that precise word, "midriff"). Turn back to Saturday and the very next sentence I read, I swear I am not making this up, the very next sentence goes thus: A tyrannical fashion compels her to bare her umbilicus, her midriff, to the February chill.
OK, it's February, but inside this bus it's not quite what I would call a "February chill". But other than that ... so yeah, how do they do order, in this country?