in response to the BART strikes.
*written back in March, but it’s relevant somehow to now. i just don’t
have sympathy for the cause of the workers on strike. losing $70 million
in the Bay’s economy every day just so they can get a 24% raise to
their already $70,000+ salaries. having been a commuter into SF for two
years, i have other problems to worry about, and when the one
transportation i relied on is halted for something ridiculous as this, i
just don’t get it and i don’t need that to add onto stress.*
Oh exciting, how adventurous!
To be up before dawn cracks the sky and the air has settled into a
veil of heat or stiffening chill, depending on time of the year.
Hurried for hair, the clothes you’ll carry on for the next nine hours is
what you’re out in in the crowded, rushing world— as if anyone shall
notice. Showered the night before to save time. give fifteen minutes
before makeup to let the puffiness leave the face. If there’s time make a
coffee in the kitchen, have a toast or two, sprinkled with brown sugar
on butter or smother them in strawberry jam. Breakfast at home is nice—
but usually rushed. Sometimes breakfast is elsewhere: the Alpine Bakery
by the BART station or minutes before getting to work with fists full of
something pulled from the kitchen into plastic baggies while sitting on
the bus. Sometimes breakfast doesn’t exist at all.
The same place greets you every morning. It’s looking shabby now,
just as tired as every man and woman in pea coats, pinstripe trousers,
and anchored by backpacks and brief cases. They stand in line. They want
to sleep but need to feel awake. Coffee doesn’t cut it any longer.
Don’t forget, you’re one of them!
And though one of the bunch,
chance is not forgiving nor generous. The dented rusty white cars of
the SFO-bound 6:57 halt at the yellow line along the brown markers of
the platform, and its doors open. The air is heavy and humid and the
North Concordians and Pittsburgers are scattered and got dibs. The best
seats are four facing each other, or it’s standing. Those without a soul
or a sheer common sense take up the vacant ones right along the doors;
exceptions to these are the pregnant or disabled or elderly. How grand,
to fit in one of those categories for a presidential op!
A lucky break today, because the middle window seat awaits! The new
vinyl upholstery: it’s blue and looks quirky with that Jackson
Pollock-esque print all over. But to take a seat on it is firm yet
plush— and a slipping texture feels more sanitary than the dingy
disgusting old upholstery before.
And how the minutes pass, the cities go by. the window may be filmy
from dust and dirt but houses and headlights still seem to dance like a
periscope. And where’s the light? None, just you— magnificent, no? You
are a god— braving the night so that your early start will make the day
for someone somewhere. You say this to comfort your irk, fatigue, and
the crowds of everyone here like you. We’re nothing like the mortals
that wake and begin and 9.
The car moves along through time, where the sky lightens and the
leggy palm trees scattered across the sides don’t seem scary anymore
when they’re not black shapes— to see their heads hung in the night
shadow in the early AM is to take on on where they’ve nodded off.
Strange how it all happens, the yawns, ear pops beneath tunnels of
Oakland and the waters of the Bay— and iPhone alarms going off because
they’ve been on snooze the whole time— and how worlds collide, flat
lands and disco-day rooftops rising into bricks and mirrored skyscrapers
behind billboards of chipping paper. Imagine having ridden for so long
you know that there’s a cemetery on that deep green hill miles away from
the tracks. The awareness grows of when street lights seem like the sun
for those seconds in the blueness of the sky, because right after it’ll
be day and the lights know their place now and shut off.
How curious it happens that you know, that it is all over and all else begins.