Transit, Chicago, and Collective Consciousness

I think I feel most connected to the city on transit.  Last night I talked to a friend and the idea of things that weren’t a presence in my life before I moved to Chicago came up.  I think that one of those things is just a pervasive and surprising sense of collective experience.  Today, on the bus, a woman at the stop asked if the bus went to the sears tower and as the bus driver struggled to give her a precise answer, the bus hummed with the murmurs of people offering their own responses.  Another rider asked how long it took to get downtown on the particular bus.  Again, the bus collectively came to the conclusion 20 minutes.  Of course, the tragedy is that the composite experience of space and time in the city breaks down.  As horrible as the recent beating death of a Chicago youth and the morbid curiosity that still surrounds it, those events are miles and miles away from many of the people who live here, both in terms of geography and experience.