Ship of fools: I am a [Clipper] card carrying member.

Went to see the captain…
…strangest I could find…

I predicted a few adventures, and at least a couple of guaranteed snafus when I committed to public transportation stateside; but I was not really prepared for the kind of experience it would turn out to be. And bear in mind, we have not even had a drop of rain at this point [one of the snafus I know will come.]

Some of the low points include:

  • Everyone on the 14 bus stares at me as if I am a visitor from another planet. They are clearly not aware that I have just been in Hong Kong for five+ years, I am so used to being stared at.
  • Bart loses power (?) and we sit at Powell Street for nearly 30 minutes on a day when I actually need to be somewhere and it is about 100 degrees in San Francisco.
  • Bart train does not come. No answer as to why.
  • Walking back from my third trip to UPS in two days the bus does not come. Kiosk says it will come in 2 minutes, then switches to 53 minutes without the appearance of a bus in between.
  • I board the train at Ashby and it is odiously apparent that someone has peed somewhere IN the train car.
  • I realize that I am not going to be able to make my way to the Ikea store I need to get to via public transport no matter what I do and so I still have no god damn kitchen table.
  • While waiting for the train at El Cerrito Plaza early in the afternoon, I notice a less than savory character lurking by me, and though I am talking on the phone, it appears that he is talking to me. I ignore said unsavory and move down the platform to wait. The train arrives and unsavory gets up and walks towards me, gets on the train behind me, waits for me to sit down and then sits in the seat directly opposite me and begins to prattle on about how people who use meth and speed are so fucked up – or that is what people say – but people shouldn’t say that until they try it – and he sits and stares at me and fidgets and fucks with the funky hem of his even more funky black (?) jeans. When I get up to switch seats he follows me. I cannot do the ‘phone-a-friend’ routine because there is no service in the tunnel. He stares at me until I get off the train. Fuck you, tweeker.

On the other hand, some of the high points have been far more entertaining:

  • Everyone on the 14 bus stares at me as if I am a visitor from another planet. But when I smile at them, they all smile back and offer to help me with the inevitable ton of shit I am carrying.
  • My schedule has put me in a small niche of very early risers in my neighborhood, thus I am now a local at my coffee shop and my guy has a double cap waiting for me on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Love him.
  • As I walk to the Bart station I pass the same older gentleman who greets me – everyday – with, “Buenos mi amiga tan bonita!” Everyday.
  • I met Arturo, who told me that I am more beautiful than the most beautiful movie star that ever lived and that I shine like the sun. He also offered to give me a foot massage, but I think that goes in the aforementioned list.
  • Going up the escalator and young guy sprinting to catch the train ahead of mine says, “’Scuse me sexy lady…” And then stops and turns around to offer assistance with the bags I am carrying.

And of course, there are the attendant bonuses like that I do not have to deal with parking in my neighborhood which is enough to make a grown woman cry; I do not have to worry about getting home from happy hour; I am enhancing my urban geographical radar; the Bay Area has a card [the Clipper Card!] like the Octopus Card in HK now, so life is easy when you want to be ‘on the bus’ – or any other mode of transport; I get a lot of work done while in transit (hey hey for multi-tasking!); it continues to be one of the best conversation starters: “Wait – you CHOOSE to use public transportation?”

Hell yes, I do.

The bottles stand as empty now, as they were filled before
Time there was and plenty, but from that cup no more
Though I could not caution all, I still might warn a few
Don’t lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools


About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in California, Humor, Life, Lists, Silliness, true stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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