Lines and Curves
by Lea Bridi
At 5:15 pm on April 3rd, 2008, Emily sat in the lobby of State College’s transportation center, waiting for a bus. The transportation center was a proposed solution to the city’s parking and traffic problems. The idea was that people who lived in the suburbs could drive to the transportation center (which was basically a parking garage), park their cars, and take the bus or a shuttle into town. State College’s parking and traffic problems were two things that were wrong with the world, but they were not, by any means, the only things. In fact, by 5:15 pm, on April 3rd, 2008, almost everyone agreed that so many things were wrong that the world was mostly ruined, but no one could agree on what those things were.
For example, Emily’s parents believed that the most important world-ruining thing was changing weather patterns. According to them, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide were causing extreme droughts and extremes floods, which were, in turn, causing slums and riots and wars. Emily’s parents were both professors of ecology at the University. They had fallen into something almost like love while collecting marsh water samples and had been married for thirty years, but Emily had never seen them kiss. For a long, long time, she had never seen either of them cry, until one late summer afternoon, right before she moved into her college dorm. The talk show that Emily and her mother were watching was interrupted by a cookie dough commercial. As cherubic children wielded rolling pins and gazed at their television mother, Emily’s real life mother had allowed several tears to escape her scientist’s eyes. It had been deeply embarrassing for both of them.