Harnessing and squeezing ideas into a single word is so deceptive, as if we can know just what the thing is by reading its word or hearing it spoken, as if it is the same thing for us always. Like home and self-control and hot chocolate and certainly joy. And I like that. I like expanding my personal definitions of those things, or observing how they evolve--and the feeling of epiphany that comes with knowing what they are again for the first time.
I felt that way today when respect came to mind. Respect is heavier with meaning to me now; I respect Mexico City's millions of commuters in a way that's reached new heights.
Leaving the house just past 5:30 to drive to the Zona Rosa, we crept through incomprehensible traffic on long stretches of the trip. Less than twenty miles and over an hour and a half later, we walked toward the building where my kind-of job interview was held. The hours-long session, coupled with a brief stop at the Immigration Office, meant we made our way back home after the clock read two. The drive home took a much more merciful hour.
I'm beat. And folks do this every day, to get to school or their workplace or a hearing or a business lunch, only to make a meager living, paying bills and staying afloat. I'm still confounded by the average salary, and by the effort it takes to make it.
I now look at teachers' salaries in the U.S. with an entirely different lens. It now seems to me luxurious. And for chilangos, I hold my new definition of respect. I feel like I saw everyone today again, for the first time.