Life In A Flash

by Thomas Ercoli (United States of America)

Making a local connection USA


We were told it would be about a 14 hour drive. We loaded into the van, and it was PACKED. The front seat had 3, middle seat had 3, and the backseat had 3. It was a long ride so to start, everyone respected personal space. As the ride went on people got a little more comfortable, some a little too much. Two lanes, scooters, cars, vans, trucks, and everyone passing each other on curves, straight aways, and anywhere else they could. People passed on the left, people passed on the right. Horns blare, lights flash, and no one dies. It is absolutely amazing. While flying through Sumatra, you stare out the window. It is one hell of a way to see culture. As you fly past village after village, you catch half second clips of people, life, culture, and every day activities. In a half second you see a lady washing clothes in the water that runs through each village. She's gone in another half second. You see a kid running down the street. He vanishes. You see men working on construction, and next, you can't see any of them. You are now looking at someone else's life for a half second, before they are gone forever. You'll never know a name or a face that you see, but it gives you more than enough context. As you look out the window, all these people blur by. You start to piece together thousands of different lives. A lady washing, kids playing, people going to worship, cooks and customers, the elders, the youth, all only for a half second each. It takes hundred and thousands of these half seconds, but after a number of hours and countless villages, you start to develop a picture of it all. It is your own little movie. Not a single individual leaves a lasting impression on you, but all together it is an amazing sight to see. Each tiny clip of everyday activities allows you to see what life is like for these people. We go through villages that are mainly farms, with corn, rice, and carrots. We pass by villages of massive Islamic influence, children, men, women, all headed to the Mosque or school, in typical Islamic dress. Another village, kids shirtless, women's heads covered, men in jeans and a t-shirt. It all gave the purest image of life in Sumatra. We cover so much area and see so many people. It's not a personal connection, but if you take a look out at these people, if you take in these tiny clips of life, if you piece them together, you'll see what life is really like for these people who are gone in a blur of a passing car.