I took this picture while stopped in traffic on Nassau Street, right in front of Princeton University’s main gate.
The bus caught my eye. (How could it not?) It’s the type of NQR that makes me, at least fleetingly, rather happy, warmed-inside, representing a sort of harmless and hopeful craziness which, if it were to increase individually or collectively, would surely benefit our often cruel and callous world.
The bus also provides an opportunity to show to people overseas who aren’t familiar with America one of the last vestiges of our vaunted hippie culture, a dream and an anti-capitalist fervor that once thrived on certain (more liberal) college campuses but has now disappeared, aging and mellowing, to suburban pacification or to isolation in certain marginalized movements or locations. (Though the ‘Occupy’ events of last summer still had force!)
I was happy to see this bus, here, in a place like Princeton where I wouldn’t ever have expected it. I wonder how its owner fared, preaching or simply being among the scions of this elite, Ivy locale. I imagine he found some folks to listen, others like me to look and think about his slogans and his message. But, in the end, the thing that made me happiest of all was just to imagine him, a modern Quixote mounting his painted, slogan-covered Rocinante and driving, rescue-dog at his side, off into some romantic and futile sunset, tilting at so many noble windmills.