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  • Waiting for a ride

March 9 Cold and Clear Tuesday

Vallejo 6:40 AM
35 frigid degrees but I see a wonderful lineup of many warm cars. Mine is a 2-door Honda and I hop in the front seat. The driver is wearing a MUNI (San Francisco’s City Bus System) uniform and when we exchange greetings I say, “You’re a MUNI lady!”. Her response is an unenthusiastic groan. I ask which route she drives and she says she’s not driving anymore – that she’s doing something else for MUNI. I can tell she doesn’t want to talk, and especially not about her job, but she does admit she’s glad she’s not driving a bus anymore.

There’s a bright blue cut-out-tree air freshener hanging from the mirror, marked ‘New Car Scent’, and a funny little stuffed green frog toy swinging from her keychain. KBLK Radio.

It’s a crisp sunny morning and we’re moving along at 55 mph. The driver’s cup of coffee smells delicious.

Nearing Berkeley I can see all the way across the bay and there’s a huge freighter leaving under the Golden Gate Bridge. Alcatraz is sparkling and it’s one of those almost painfully clear days – so clear that you can practically see in the windows of all the buildings on San Francisco’s hills.

7:45 AM and we arrive at the drop off on Fremont Street. I ease my sore muscles out of the cozy car and head off to the gym and work.

Monday, March 8 Sharing in Silence

Vallejo 6:40 a.m.

I played hookey Friday, which made this Monday all the more painful as I groaned my way out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Back to the gym this morning, so I’m here early again. Looks like this may become my new time of departure. Cold winds this morning and all night – they rattled our old house. I’m in the back seat of a dark blue 4-door Toyota Corolla. 30-something woman driver, dressed in a black sweatshirt and black trousers. She has her head in her cell phone as I get into the back seat and gives me a distracted good morning greeting. She puts away the phone and off we go with KBLK on the radio. What a great haircut she has! Very stylish short bob – it looks terrific. A Safeway bag with several boxes of Tampons lies on the back-seat floor; her black jacket on the seat next to me.

No chatting today. The side rear view mirror reflects the front seat passenger who is sitting very still staring straight ahead.

I like a bit of conversation, and also like some quiet time too, so I can read, text, blog, or just sit and collect my thoughts. But today we’re silent.

I read a recent article in the NY Times about the new cab sharing in NYC. The news story is at (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/want-to-share-a-cab-with-a-stranger/). This Sunday’s (March 7) Times included a column on the program, which officially began last Friday, from city critic Ariel Kaminer who tried out the program. It’s a good and funny story – read it if you have a moment. (“Sharing a Cab Ride is Hard Enough. But Words, Too?” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/nyregion/07critic.html?src=twr). Kaminer describes the oddness of being squeezed together in “100 cubic feet of space without speaking to one another”.

Ha – we do it all the time here in the casual carpool lane.

Light and fast traffic today. We whiz past the flowering pink and white fruit trees all abloom in time for the first day of Spring on Sunday.

We’re in San Francisco at 7:30 and I’m off to the weights and bikes at Club One.