Here in Tidewater, Virginia, we make our way from city to city via
a series of tunnels. As we approach each tunnel a series of signs warn
us: “No HAZMATS” and “HAZMATS must exit here.” Trucks carrying
hazardous materials of one sort or another provide a danger anywhere,
but in tunnels the risk is magnified.
I noticed a disheveled and unshaven man in his early fifties a few barstools down from me. Something about him seemed uninviting. Soon an attractive 40-something woman arrived in a crisp little black dress and perched on the stool next to him. She seemed nervous.
For seven splendid years (1953-1960) I studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Someone told me that visitors to the seminary were occasionally brought around to the tutors' office, where I worked as a graduate student, in order to glimpse "the Barthian"—of which species I was apparently the only one in captivity in that place.
Søren Kierkegaard, 19th-century Danish philosopher, would not be impressed with our busyness today. “Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me to be busy—to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work . . . What, I wonder, do these busy folks get done?” Stephen Evans, Baylor University philosopher, says Kierkegaard saw busyness as a distraction from the really important questions of life, such as who we are and what life is for (Quartz, April 16).