The windows are always down

The movie Boyhood is unlike anything I've ever seen. It was filmed over 12 years with the same actors, so you watch an entire family age. That alone makes it a magical experience, but after it was over, I couldn't stop thinking about the life that was portrayed on the screen.

The film is a frank, uncompromising portrait of growing up. Each scene captures a moment in time, but the moments that were chosen tell a story we're not used to seeing on our screens, whether at a theatre or in our hands.

It's a story devoid of the familiar highlights. Instead, the focus is on the funny, awkward, often painful moments that come before and after those events .

Boyhood lingers on the messy, mundane, and unresolved; the moments of fear and regret behind the framed photos.

Watching the movie was uncomfortable at times, in the way that online interactions are when someone is honest about struggles and hurts. There is a sort of minimum level of cheerfulness required—You must be this happy to ride this ride. The polite thing is to step away for awhile if you're currently falling short. We celebrate together and suffer alone.

It shouldn't be that way. If you're going through a miserable time, please know that you don't have to pretend you're not. If the last thing you need is one more email, don't hesitate to unsubscribe. And if it would ever help in some small way to just write it down, our inbox and mailbox are always open.

Boyhood is a loving reminder of the commonality to be found in the moments we don't talk about.


Last week's dispatch asked, From feet to flight, what is your favorite form of transportation?

Anna wrote:

My favorite form of transportation is the not-so-uncommon 1970 Ford pickup my dad owns. There’s no air conditioning, meaning the windows are always down. We’d take it into the field after supper to spot wildlife, and I can swear to this day that my dad talks to animals. I drove it to school when I was 16, and I love coming home and seeing it in the driveway like nothing’s changed.

Brad wrote:

Jetski. Or WaveRunner or what have you. Sit down on it, grab the throttle and slice through the waves as you glide across a glittering blue expanse. There is nothing I've experienced quite as free, thrilling and so acute with joy. I think it's similar to the feeling many express about riding a motorcycle, but when you fall off a jet ski you can laugh and splash. I find that difference significant.

Lara wrote:

My favorite mode of transport is undoubtedly my bike. Frustrated at being stuck in Melbourne traffic, I felt so liberated when I finally sold my car and became a full time bike rider several year back. I've had a few scrapes, but bigger risks also bring bigger rewards. I love getting to know my city more intimately without a metal cage around me, and being a rider has introduced me to some amazing people and opportunities that I just wouldn't have had if I stayed safe in my box. It's agile, low cost, low impact, it allows me to wear stretchy pants everyday and to breath fresh air into my lungs with every trip. A beautiful bike is a thing of wonder from a design and engineering perspective. And I still feel like a little kid when I go flying down a hill.

Antonio wrote:

Trains, bar none. Though expensive for their speed, trains are probably the most comfortable mode of transportation—which means you can sit back, relax, and let your mind wander. A train ride can be as inspiring as a walk, and take you far longer distances to boot. For extra spice, walking up and down a train while it's moving gets you the inspiration of a walk times the inspiration of a train—only genius can come from that.

Erin wrote:

For the everyday, I love riding my bike.<br>For weekends, I love the freedom a car, a driver's license, and lots of land ahead brings me.<br>For travel, I prefer a city by bus.

Grant wrote:

Sailing. Nothing beats cruising over the water with the Chicago skyline in the background...

Danielle wrote:

I wish I could say it was flying, as in with my own wings attached to my back (I’ll let the grandkids revel in that glory when I am old…). Alas, what I have to adore is the archaic form of transportation: walking. After a car accident nearly five years ago, my thoughts on transportation changed, and became a little more intentional. I enjoyed the transition of car to bike, and at times, bike to foot. It’s amazing to take a moment to realize you are where you are because you, and your little heart of an engine, got you there. With each slower form of transportation, there was more that could be taken in, in the surroundings traveled and the senses engaged along the way. I’m fascinated by stories of bike tours and people walking across vast spaces of earth. The nimbleness and freedom that each step has the potential of is just grand, and why I pick it over cycling.

Adam wrote:

Definitely feet. I like being able to stop and look at things: plants, animals, shop windows, an interesting cloud, or whatever. I try to get places by walking whenever it's remotely reasonable.

Erin wrote:

I'd have to say my favorite forms of transportation are equally walking and driving. I love walking, especially in new and unknown places, and getting to discover hidden nooks and crannies, but also just feeling the energy that a city gives from the ground up. There's something about walking around a place and brushing shoulders with the general populous - even if there's no more interaction than that, not even eye contact - that is kind of magical. It also gives you an entirely different perspective of the architecture around you, and much more time to appreciate the unique beauty of the buildings, landscape, etc. I like driving for the freedom it gives me. I can go just about anywhere, all I need is a little gas. While I'm not entirely enamored with my day to day driving around the city to and from work, a good road trip is always exciting. There's just a feeling of possibility that comes with it. There may be a plan, but you have the freedom to easily deviate and find a different route. It's easy to share with others or enjoy by yourself. And there's nothing quite like blasting your favorite songs in the car and rocking out, ignorant and seemingly invisible to everyone outside of your little bubble.

Paulo wrote:

Trains. More intimate than planes, less responsibility than cars, better sights, and the shaking and rattling on the tracks as a reminder that you’re moving somewhere.

Sara wrote:

There's something very civilized about the train. It may be old fashioned, but it's the most comfortable and calm way to travel. I love being able to sit down, get comfortable, and get a lot of uninterrupted work done, either writing or reading, ignoring the fact that there's sometimes spotty wifi and taking it as an opportunity to focus. I'm already looking forward to my train trip down to New York later this week...

Marina wrote:

It’s a close tie between airplanes (is there anything quite as amazing as getting on a plane in your home airport and in the space of a few short hours stepping off to find yourself in another place where fresh adventure awaits?) and my bicycle, which can take me anywhere I want to go – schedule-free, traffic-free, hassle-free …ahhhhh….

Hoon wrote:

Trains, metros, subways, light rail, streetcars… things that run on rails. Compared to buses, things on rails never have to stop for traffic or lights. As a result, they’re far more likely to be on time. Rails are also much smoother than pothole-filled roads. Compared to airplanes, there’s far less “security theater” nonsense to deal with in order to board. Walk up to the train, wait for the doors to open and walk in! I would love to live in a city that had a great subway or light rail system. When considering cities to visit on vacation, having a solid public transportation system on rails (subways, light rail) is always a huge plus. Washington, D.C. was fantastic due to the Metro and how easy it made going from one attraction to another. In high school, my family visited Paris. We drove to the city from Germany, but there’s a reason why they call Paris “rueful” (“rue” is the French word for “street”), and we had to ditch the car before we made it to our hotel. It turns out it was mistake to even try to drive in Paris. But, the subway system there was amazing! It was fun to just look at a map and figure out what routes you needed to take, what transfer you needed to make, to get to anywhere you wanted. The local paper once published an article stating an Austin subway system would cost over $50 billion. Billion. So much for that dream. There’s a fascinating proposal to make mass-transit aerial gondolas in Austin as a way to make an “above-ground subway system”. It’s not quite on rails, but I think that would be fun!

Yinka wrote:

Looove trains; the calming motion, often beautiful scenery, and comfort.  If they were available everywhere, I'd take them all the time!

Carrie wrote:

As far as my favorite form of transport, I'll go with feet for now. I live in Portland, Oregon and the stunning, breath-taking, awe inspiring places you can only see by foot are my favorite places to be. Do a search on Instagram for #exploregon #upperleftusa to get a taste... crazy beautiful.

Uncommon reads

Things That Don't Scale by Jon Bell

On Depression by Sarah Hatter

Your turn

Which films have altered your perspective?