This writer once watched a movie in which Robert DiNero took on the role of a train rider. He met and fell in love with Meryl Streep, another train rider. Hollywood should make more movies like that. After watching such movies, men and women might think twice before getting in their own car every day, and driving to work in the heavy traffic.
Maybe some Hollywood writer could make a movie about the man who traveled around the world on his own power. He rode many different types of vehicles. He did not swim across the ocean. He did not sail across, and he did not paddle across it. He used a special boat with pedals. He propelled the boat with those pedals.
A rider seems better able to make a mark on the world than a loan car driver. Some of the people who rode the train to work on September 11, 2001 were recalled, when people saw news clips that showed the parked cars still at the train depot. No station aired any footage of a parked car in a private driveway.
Students are riders. Some ride the bus to school. Some ride to school in the family car, or in a friend’s car. Some ride to school on a bicycle. Teachers could tap into the feelings of the rider. They could ask students to write about their riding experiences.
Teachers could use a writing assignment to encourage imaginative thinking about riders. Perhaps a teacher might ask her students to describe what it is like to ride on a motorcycle. What does it feel like to have the wind whipping at your face? How does it feel to ride next to a big truck?
Teachers could also require that their students write about riding habits during other periods of history. What was it like to ride in a stage coach? What was it like to cross the ocean in one of the old sailing ships? Did a trip on the Underground Railroad involve any real riding? If so, what sort of vehicle did an escaping slave take?
When students study other cultures, they could learn about transportation in those cultures. They could then be asked to write about how they would picture a ride in or on whatever transportation was used in the region that the students were studying. What was it like to ride on a camel or an elephant? What was it like to ride on the Auto Bann?
Students could also be asked to think about transportation needs in the future. They might then feel ready to write how they would picture the inside of a rocket ship. They might conjure up visions of flying cars.
Maybe such exercises would aid the development of a future writer, perhaps a writer of great science fiction or interesting historical novels. Such exercises might even lead to development of a great screen writer.
Who knows what sort of riders the movies of the future might feature? The answer, no doubt, now lies in the mind of some young student. What teacher has the ability to discover that answer?