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  • Waiting for a ride

Wednesday, April 7 Short and sweet and warmer


Vallejo 6:50 a.m.
A few riders and a few cars to go along with them, so no waiting for anyone. As I walk up to the line I see a big tour bus type vehicle parked across the street from the carpool line. A fellow in a black suit and chauffeur’s cap is pitching the bus company’s (Bauer’s) new commuter service. “Free coffee and bottled water, Direct TV, wifi, restroom on board, plus the first trip is free, too!” he tells us. We sign up on his clipboard with our e-mails and contact info so we can get more info – like the cost, which he is unable or unwilling to share this morning. It sounds promising.

My ride is the back seat of a Suburu Highlander. The driver and I discuss the possible bus commute. “Sounds good,” he says and that he would consider it rather than driving, depending on where it drops off and picks up. Hopefully that info will be forthcoming.

It’s a gorgeous spring morning. Cool, but the temperature will be in the 70s later today. The air and sky is swept clean and clear after the days of wind and rains and the view across the bay from Berkeley is even more spectacular than usual. The City and all the buildings look like a postcard picture.

We’re at 65 mph the whole way. A few ducks and sandpipers are mulling around in the Eastshore Park water. Into the city at 7:30 a.m.

Tuesday, April 6 Hark, Hark, the Seals Do Bark!


Vallejo 6:45 AM
It’s about 40 degrees this morning, and as I leave the house bundled up in my winter gear I can hear seals barking over in the Carquinez Strait, just a block away. A fellow I used to work with who was a serious fisherman told me “when the seals are barking, the salmon are running”. Hopefully this is an omen that will mean a replenishment of the bay area’s depleted salmon population. It’s a happy sound and I bark along with them for a few bars.

When I’m dropped off at the carpool line it is a LINE this morning. About 50 riders lined up and no cars. Cars pull up in little batches of 2 and 3, and are only taking the required number to qualify for car pool (2 passengers) – even though they have plenty of room for another passenger, or in the case of an SUV 2 or 3 others! Small minded, I’d say. Damn, it’s cold out here and it looks like I won’t have much gym time before I go to work. 20 minutes later it’s my turn. I get into the back seat of a Toyota Corolla and an older gentleman gets into the front. Our driver barely acknowledges us. No good morning for him. He’s a 50-something Asian American and he doesn’t look happy. We pull away from the curb and as we slowly drive by the still long line of waiting riders, a women leans out asking for a ride. “no”, he says emphatically, shaking his head. “No!” Wow what a mean spirited attitude.

There is plenty of room in this back seat which I’m sharing with a box of Kleenex, one of those silver reflector things people put in their windows when they park in the sun, and I see on the floor, sheet music for the Messiah. maybe left over from Easter Sunday? Hard to imagine this guy singing, let alone singing something as rousing and joyous as the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. No barking for him!

Traffic bogs down and after about a mile I see why – a rear-ender has torn off the entire rear bumper of a car and the crumpled chunk of metal is laying in the center lane, forcing cars to go around it. The 2 cars involved have pulled over to the side and we go past them, picking up speed. Around the corner of the Eastshore Park and the baby Egrets are all out plodding around in the shallow water, their new white feathered selves brilliant against the gray water.

It’s a sparkling sunny morning and as we come across the bridge, the sun momentarily hits the peak of the Transamerica Pyramid building creating a showering ray of light, reminiscent of the old RKO Radio Tower logo. We’re in the city by 7:45.