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  • Waiting for a ride

January 15 – 3 day weekend!

7:25 a.m. Vallejo, and a really large Nissan Quest suv is waiting for me with the side door open.  It automatically slides shut when I’m in.

Driver is a small woman with a short haircut combed so that it looks like she’s been electrocuted.  It’s Friday Casual where she works I’d bet – she’s wearing jeans of course, and has on a grey hoodie and a canvas vest with a fur collar over that.  It’s a kind of woman-warrior from the steppes look.  It’s good.

Easy Friday traffic and I’m so comfortable in the back of this vast vehicle that I could just stay here all day.  Hey, the Bay Area Toll Authority did a preliminary vote yesterday on the tolls.  No surprise – they unanimously voted for carpool tolling – $2.50 per car beginning in July.  Final vote on January 27.

3-day weekend coming up!

January 14 – Soft Focus

Vallejo 7:25 a.m.  I get in the front seat of a 1997 Mercedes Sedan.  A lovely car, and we take off into really amazing layers of fog.  Scary driving but beautiful to look at.  The rough edges of our No Cal winter landscape are in soft focus – transformed into a breathtaking Japanese watercolor.  KCBS Radio keeps us on top of weather and traffic every few minutes, and more news on Haiti’s earthquake is not good.

We commute in and out of the sun, through Berkeley and round the corner onto the Bay Bridge back into dense heavy fog.  The bridge has vanished and we slip into a soft grey space of twinkling red brake lights.   Crossing the bridge, the familiar point of the TransAmerica Pyramid pops out of the fog into the sunlight, the soft focus of the early morning ends and our long-silent driver suddenly begins to rail against the proposed bridge toll for commuters.

I vigorously join in the discussion and we agree it is an unfair toll, that will essentially penalize a most progressive, ingenious system that has made  bay area commuting less torturous, hazardous and less polluting for all concerned.  The driver resents the enforced fast trak account he would have to open to participate.  Sounds like we’re going to lose a driver come July.

We arrive at the drop off corner and step into a sunny San Francisco morning.    This is a great system and I worry about the consequences of the  proposed toll for us casual carpool commuters.

The Bridge Toll Authority makes its final decision on January 27.  Let’s hope the fog lifts on their cloudy thinking as they try to resolve their budget.