Streetcar Quotes

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Streetcar Quotes

The young man walks by himself, fast but not fast enough, far but not far enough (faces slide out of sight, talk trails into tattered scraps, footsteps tap fainter in alleys); he must catch the last subway, the streetcar, the bus, run up the gangplanks of all the steamboats, register at all the hotels, work in the cities, answer the wantads, learn the trades, take up the jobs, live in all the boardinghouses, sleep in all the beds. One bed is not enough, one job is not enough, one life is not enough. At night, head swimming with wants, he walks by himself alone.
— John Dos Passos —

His shadow stretched out across the asphalt, a man on his way to make good an old wrong, his shadow, the dark doppelganger with stilts for legs, sliced in two by the streetcar tracks.

— Hansjorg Schertenleib

Above all there's a lack of personal discipline, manners, decorum, natural discretion. If everyone causes their own individual catastrophes, how can there fail to be more general catastrophes? After all, the passengers on a bus or streetcar make up a community of a kind. But they don't see it that way, not even in a moment of danger. As they see it they are bound always to be the other's enemy: for political, social, all sorts of reasons. Where so much hate has been bottled up, it is vented on inanimate things, and provokes the celebrated perversity of inanimate things. Sending experts into other countries won't help much, so long as each individual refuses to work out his own personal traffic plan. There is a wisdom in the accident of language by which there is a single word, "traffic," for movement in the streets, and for people's dealings with one another.

— Joseph Roth

I would have been glad to agree to let them all proceed henceforth in complete ignorance of psychology, if they would forget my opinion of chocolate sodas or the story of the amusing episode on a Spanish streetcar.

— B.F. Skinner

[ ... ] I was afraid to board a streetcar because of the conductor; I was afraid to enter the Kabuki Theater for fear of the usherettes standing along the sides of the red-carpeted staircase at the main entrance; I was afraid to go into a restaurant because I was intimidated by the waiters furtively hovering behind me waiting for my plate to be emptied.

— Osamu Dazai

You have to have approached a place from all four cardinal points if you want to take it in, and what's more, you also have to have left it from all these points. Otherwise it will quite unexpectedly cross your path three or four times before you are prepared to discover it. One stage further, and you seek it out, you orient your-self by it. The same thing with houses. It is only after having crept along a series of them in search of a very specific one that you come to learn what they contain. From the arches of gates, on the frames of house doors, in letters of varying size, black, blue, yellow, red, in the shape of arrows or in the image of boots or freshly-ironed laundry or a word stoop or a stairway's solid landing, the life leaps out at you, combative, determined, mute. You have to have traveled the streets by streetcar to realize how this running battle con-tinues up along the various stories and finally reaches its decisive pitch on the roofs.

— Walter Benjamin

We'll all be riding that streetcar of desire.

— Bob Dole

How much better it would be if they weren't so damn understanding
if they kicked me out of the house. To find yourself out in the street with two dollars to your name, to catch the streetcar downtown and get a job, perhaps as an airline stewardess. Think how wonderful it would be to fly to Houston and back three times a week for the next twenty years. You think I'm kidding? I'm not. It would be wonderful.

— Walker Percy

It never happened
but it seemed like
there were times when rot
stopped
waited like a streetcar
at a signal.

— Charles Bukowski

A story went the rounds about a San Franciscan white matron who refused to sit beside a Negro civilian on the streetcar, even after he made room for her on the seat. Her explanation was that she would not sit beside a draft dodger who was a Negro as well. She added that the least he could do was fight for his country the way her son was fighting on Iwo Jima. The story said that the man pulled his body away from the window to show an armless sleeve. He said quietly and with great dignity, Then ask your son to look around for my arm, which I left over there.

— Maya Angelou

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