The Rituals of Others

school bus ritual

How often do we think about the small tasks in our daily life? Each day may feel like we’re on autopilot unless we take a step back and try to see our lives from a different perspective. Those things that we do each day without thinking are little rituals, though we may not usually see them as such.

Because I’m between work projects right now, I’m able to catch up on some things at home and help out my mom a bit more during the week. My schedule isn’t the norm, so I’m seeing different people at different times and in different places. It’s been exactly one year since moving to this apartment building. How time flies! But I’m still noticing new things about it.

Last week, maybe around 2pm, I exited the elevator and was on my way out of the building. I noticed several women just sitting or standing in the lobby area. It seemed odd. I wondered why they were all there. A few were speaking to each other, but others were alone and on their phones or silent. When I drove my car out of the garage, I noticed a school bus pull up to the building and all the kids got out. Then I saw some of the women walking down the stairs to meet the kids.

Oh, this is a mom thing; I suddenly realized! This must be an everyday ritual getting the kids from the school bus. Since I’m not a mom, this is not a ritual that I’m familiar with.

It also must be a generational thing. When I was a kid my mom didn’t meet me at the bus. When I was in elementary school and junior high, I walked to school and back, either alone or with a friend. From what I recall, no parents were waiting for us outside. Kids whose parents worked didn’t even have parents waiting for them inside! When I was older and we lived further away from the school, I did take a bus, but I still walked from the bus by myself. No parent waiting!

Soon after this realization, when I was driving to my mom’s house, I noticed a women sitting cross-legged on the grass in front of a house. Another woman further down the street was outside her house milling about on the lawn. I noticed similar scenes over and over at most of the houses up and down the streets. All these moms were waiting for their kids to be dropped off. It’s a big thing!

It was so interesting realizing that what’s such a big ritual for all these families is not a thing for me. And for other non-moms like me. There are certain parts of our daily lives, these rituals that we take for granted that are just not a part of other people’s lives. I noticed this again while watching a couple of new to me YouTubers.

Depending on where you live, earthquakes can be a big part of daily life, so you take precautions and it’s part of your mindset. Hayao is a new young father and husband living in Japan who does it all – cooking, baking, building, planting and more. When he was improving some shelves that he built, he added an extra support in the event of a big earthquake. I realized that if you live in Japan, you definitely would think about earthquakes. According to an earthquake tracking website that I found, Japan has an earthquake almost everyday. Sometimes several a day.

Another YouTuber named Mamiko is a Japanese woman living in Paris with her husband and two cats. They enjoy meeting new people, going to markets and all sorts of places, eating, cooking, and generally living the good life. Their vlog is called GOROGORO KITCHEN. Her husband, Tsu-san, films the videos and they have the most wonderful rapport and humor. She is fluent in Japanese, French and English. Seeing her quickly switch between all of them is amazing! Needless to say, I’m quite a fan.

Watching a video today, they were visiting a shop where bottles were placed high up on shelves. She noted that putting things up like that signals living in an earthquake-free country. Because if there were an earthquake, things could fall on your head!

Living in New England, my daily habits and rituals have never taken earthquakes into account! The more you know!