Quotation by Alastair Reid

Trains are for meditation, for playing out long thought-processes, over and over; we trust them, perhaps because they have no choice but to go where they are going. Nowadays, however, they smack of a dying gentility. To travel by car makes journeys less mysterious, too much a matter of the will. One might as easily sit on a sofa and imagine a passing landscape. I doubt whether any truly absorbing conversation ever took place in a car; they are good only for word games and long, tedious narratives. We have come to regard cars too much as appendages of our bodies and will probably pay for it in the end by losing the use of our legs. We owe to them the cluttering of the landscape, the breakup of villages and towns.
Alastair Reid (b. 1926), Scottish poet, essayist. "Notes on Being a Foreigner," Whereabouts: Notes on Being a Foreigner, North Point (1987).
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