Monday, July 7, 2014

Watching and being carried

As we start gliding more and lurching less, slowly building up speed, I study the northbound lanes. A stream of anonymous cars. The fact that we're rushing toward each other makes them seem impossibly, surreally fast. It's mesmerizing. There's that concrete barrier between us, but not much space.

I'm up high, in a modern, immaculate coach with the Waterford in its own carpeted lounge down below. Even at 10am, the freeway was stop and go for a long time with a crush of people leaving San Francisco for Silicon Valley. Hard to imagine dealing with this every day.

And I'm not even dealing with it today. Twice, the brakes firmly engage as the driver is forced to react and the bodies in seats lurch forward. Probably some car cutting him off.

The view in the forward direction? A colorful sign with the WiFi password on the back of my neighbor's seat. Every seat is full; the bus is totally silent. There are laptops open, yes, but it seems like most people are busy trying to reconcile themselves back to work after the long holiday weekend. As the only passenger in bike clothes and for that matter, the only one over 30 I'm invisible, which is just fine. Plunk in the earbuds.

As it happens, these northbound cars are doing Danny's commute. Pretty soon he should be in one of those lanes. To be able to watch and think, to be carried rather than pushing, it really feels different, as if my life has suddenly morphed into a 90-minute TV show. As if all the pushing never happened. All I did was get on a bus.

The feeling is not necessarily positive, something to repeat on a regular basis, but after 173 miles Saturday, 155 miles Sunday, and this morning 14 miles across the Golden Gate Bridge, it's definitely one I can handle.

No time for breakfast, or even Peet's coffee. These things sound unspeakably good right now; it might be the only thing wrong with this picture.

The timing was going to be close and it was touch and go there for a bit at the end, threading through the Presidio. San Francisco having finally wrested it from the federal government, it's having a massive amount of work done. One turn revealed what looked to be a gigantic strip-mining operation. I opted for another way.

There's definitely a fine line between navigating and getting lost. The labyrinth eventually dumped out at Lombard Gate and this epic self-brevet finished in an inglorious vein: riding the wrong way on the sidewalk on Lombard Street (Highway 101), six blocks to the bus stop.

At 10:47am, I spot a little grey electric car in the number 2 lane and give a little involuntary fist-pump, which makes my neighbor look over for a second.

Yeah I've had more productive days at work. There was a lot of reading email, and eating potato chips. After a 350-mile commute and a self-supported (almost) 600K, my productivity drops to the level of an office troll. Luckily, it also bounces back...

In on the scheme were two people and a dog at the start point in Trinidad, Danny (who met me in Caspar), the breakfast crowd at Queenie's Roadhouse Cafe (Elk), and Adam and Molly in San Anselmo.

And now you guys. Shhh...

1 comment :

  1. I didn't even know where Caspar was. Don't think I'd ever been there. Love your adventures! :)