Thoughtlessly this morning I brushed my teeth with the tap water. I cooked oatmeal over a steady natural gas flame in a heated home and then poured it over frozen blueberries. When I saw the clock blinking on the stove, I realized we must have had a power outage in the middle of the night, but a quick time check with my cell phone told me that it was for less than a minute. I stood in my bathrobe and slippers, clothes made in another part of the world just so I have something to lounge around in, and my mind flashes to…mothers bathing their children in littered streams in Bali, bundled up students on benches in an unheated immigrant school in wintery Shanghai, the 14 hours power outages that are common in Zimbabwe, the garment workers in Dhaka, the women selling small bags of grain that they have beaten into flourly submission beside the road in Ghana for whom lounging about is something you save for after you’re dead. I searched my mind for images of people I saw in Africa who had shared as many mornings with the world as I and came up empty.
What’s it like to travel? It makes rinsing out the oatmeal pan an act of wonder.