Im sitting here on the bus returning to nyc from the lovely dc and its the non-stop express. I cant stop thinking about how I wouldn't just love someone to be selling food whether its tajadas with ensalada or cashews or even some other non identifiable street food. I just know I'm hungry and wondering where's the vendor at?
So now I'm thinking, this is where development brings us? The bus is cleaner yes (point), I can not see the street passing beneath through a hole in the floor (point), the seats are both padded and able to recline (quadruple points) and truly the best thing of all is that there is a seat for everyone, myself included (infinity points). But we have lost the camaraderie of it all. Everyone is in their own bubble. Whether it's listening to music, reading, on the computer or sleeping, the space and comfort of it all has allowed us to disconnect from one another. Worst of all the complete absence of some, any easy eats.
In our "world" street vendors or vendors aboard platforms or trains (Ive never witnessed one on bus, certainly not a local one at that) are generally frowned upon or at the very best their goods are considered dubious. I'll admit I used to question the "hygienity" of it all but then I started to think about the restaurants that Ive worked in and then thought about adding the layers of filth that come with nyc dwelling and right then and there I decided to never think about it again. If I allowed myself to be so easily disgusted then I would be forced to stop eating out entirely in which case I would deprive myself of one of nyc living's best assets, the food.
Back on subject of the food vendors on transit. In Nicaragua and nyc Ive often indulged in street food for the sheer novelty of it. There's something so inexplicably alluring about it. I realized though, once in a hot crowded bus in 100+ degree heat and out of drinking water that its not just novelty demand but unequivocal need. I needed that water and soon and would have had to fight a large agitated crowd to exit and subsequently enter the bus to find a vendor selling water. I understand that those circumstances can not be experienced in US what with air-conditioned trains and buses but then again is convenience not a virtue of development? Is it not more convenient to get a bottle of water from a vendor walking down a train aisle than to make an errand of it by going into a store to purchase one?
On another note if not just for the novelty having unrestricted vendors would force us to look up from our seats, converse with another being even if it is just a transaction. They have potential to bring us together and out of an almost stifling daily routine of non- or seriously limited personal interaction. The only conviviality I experienced on that long ride was brought by the driver (the one person who I was sure would lack it) who, with not even the suggestion of jest in his tone, insisted that before he could turn the ignition we must first all say "good afternoon", and announced later that if you slept too loud he would be making fun of you. Finally upon our arrival in nyc he welcomed us to Richmond, VA sending a few of the freshly awoken individuals into minor panic, followed by self-humbling laughter at their foolishness.