Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Late Nite BART

Normally, the commute on BART from downtown to home is as interesting as, well, a commute. People get on the train, read their books, stare off into space, lead lives of quiet desperation, get off the train. You know the drill. But when I have to stay late, like I did last night, my, what a little moonlight can do.

I always board at Embarcadero, the first stop in downtown, and there and at the next stop, Montgomery, the passenger list is pretty much business guys like me fleeing the office and just trying to get the hell on home. When the train pulls into the Powell Street station, it’s another world. Powell is the vortex of tourist San Francisco; the end of the cable car line is directly above the station, Union Square with all its stores and hotels is right there. The doors of the train spring open and a wave of drunk, raucous tourists descend. Yeah! Hey! Par Tay! Where on earth are these people going at 9 o’clock at night on a subway headed off to the Mission and suburbs south of town? And why are they so loaded this early in the evening? Who knows?

The next stop is the grimy but fascinating Civic Center, where more drunks pile on. The main difference in the two groups is that the Civic Center loadoes got shit faced in bars with much dirtier bathrooms and paid a lot less for their drinks. Aside from that, not much. Smelly and loud and wearing shorts in San Francisco in August, with their legs blue from the cold. Maybe that’s why they’re drinking.

After that, the two stops in the Mission tend to be people exiting, going home or on off to the enchantments of magical 16th Street. And then, finally, my stop, the quiet, good taste of Glen Park. As I leave I hear one of the drunk ladies suspiciously asking “Is this going to Berkeley?” No dear, you are not. And every minute takes you farther away from there, but you know what? Not my problem. I’m home.

7 comments:

  1. At least they aren't peeing themselves.

    You need to ride the #36 Broadway bus on a winter day here; once that heat is on the pissed pants scent on our lovely street-folks is overwhelming. Almost cuts like CHANEL No.5 but with more pee-pee as a thematic top note.

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  2. Uhm, I think I'll pass. But thanks.

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  3. Public transportation? What's that?

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  4. It's the thing that combines the worst of group therapy and hitch-hiking.

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  5. "It's the thing that combines the worst of group therapy and hitch-hiking."

    LOL!!! So true! The subway is a necessary evil in NY -- cheaper than a cab, obviously, and usually much quicker. It's also the ONLY enclosed space where I keep my sunglasses on -- not to affect a Jackie O-ish hauteur, but in order to not make inadvertent eye contact with the crazies, and so the loud teenagers don't see me rolling my eyes at their shouted conversations. (If you've ever been stuck on a NY subway after the schools have let out, you'll know that it's one of the most stressful experiences, EVER.)

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  6. Several years back Miss J worked in the HR department of a compnay in downtown LA. The best part of her day was the train ride.

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