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  • Waiting for a ride

March 12 Friday – Spring Forward, With Caution

Vallejo 6:50 a.m.
About a dozen riders and 5 or 6 cars are all converging simultaneously at the carpool line as I walk up. We all get sorted out and the next car in line for me is . . . I can’t believe this!! It’s the same maniac in that little red Honda I rode in yesterday (see March 11 blog). There’s that damn mirror ball hanging above the dash. I tell the guy behind me I’m not taking the ride. “I rode in that car yesterday and the driver is dangerous!”. He just smiles and goes ahead and gets in. With the light traffic on Friday and the freeway wide open, he’s gonna have a ride he won’t forget. It gives me great pleasure to walk past the Honda to the next ride in line. It’s a bright blue Chrysler Cruiser.

I’m in the back seat, next to a child’s car seat. A young tired looking woman is at the wheel – same vintage fellow in front seat. He grabs hold of the handle above the door and doesn’t let go for the entire commute. Odd.

KBLX Radio is on and is saying Daylight Savings Time is dangerous. This Saturday we set our clocks ahead and lose an hour. Numerous studies that have been done by sleep experts and psychologists have found that there are more heart attacks, work-related accidents, and traffic accidents (7% more) on the Monday following Daylight Savings Time! Most of us are sleep deprived to begin with and then we compound that when we turn our clocks forward by losing yet another hour.

Besides being extra careful if you’re a driver next week, try to get to bed earlier on Sunday, get some morning sun on your face as early as you can. It helps to ‘reset’ your body’s clock. Worst thing to do is leap out of bed at the last minute and jump in your car. So listen up, my fellow commuters! Take care on Monday, and every other day, too, of course.

It’s 7:16 as we round the curve by the marshes and my egret is standing in the middle of the pools, working away. He’s a gorgeous guy. The bay is a spectacular mix of dark clouds and golden patches where the sun is coming through. It’s Friday Light and the end of winter.

March 11 Thursday Out of Sync

Vallejo 6:45 AM
Hurrying, running late, forgetting cell phone and lunch, going back home to retrieve and finally at the carpool line. Phew. No cars at all, and then one pulls up. I get in. Because I was not paying attention, I screwed up and have climbed into the CLASSIC BAD RIDE. This is a small red Honda roadster, low to the ground (I had to climb down to get into the car).

I get tucked in, fasten seat belt and we take off, pulling at least 10 Gs. Or so it seems. The air conditioning is ON, although it is 45 degrees outside. The vent is aimed at my face and I push it aside, providing some relief. As I do that I notice there is no passenger air bag. Wonderful. A small mirror ball is swinging wildly from the rear-view mirror, spewing prismatic reflections about the tiny car. It adds to the craziness of this nightmare ride.

The driver is a Mexican-American in his 50s and I can tell by the way he works the gears (manual transmission) that this is a car that likes to go fast. He’s wearing a blue tooth gizmo in his ear. The car trembles and strains to go faster with each gear shift. Where is the traffic this morning to slow this bastard down? The freeway is wide open and this guy is loving every 85 mph minute of it. He pulls out of the carpool lane whenever he comes up behind a car, accelerating and passing, then cutting back in.

Would this be the time, do you think, that I should tell this driver, who smells too strongly of Dial deodorant soap, to slow down, and risk a confrontational situation with him as we go 80+ mph? I think not, and feel like crying.

Traffic is getting a bit heavier thank you god as we near Berkeley. I promise myself I will not do this again if I have to stand in the line for an hour! Ah here’s Berkeley and traffic is mercifully crawling along. The horrible car groans and strains through the down shifting gears. The driver is not happy. Neither is his passenger.

When we reach the drop off at Fremont Street at 7:30, I climb out of the car as quickly as I can and say nothing. It is a pleasure to see him drive away.