Wednesday, May 26 Breathe!

A damp chilly morning, but the air smells beautiful. Fresh, with all the bewitching aromas of the trees and plants and grasses blasting away. Great! A short wait for a ride. I turn down the first offering – a red mini cooper. My 2 previous rides in this car have been terrifying. Like being in a high-speed chase. I defer the ride to the couple behind me (“we’re together”, she says). She is a petite 20-something and he, about the same age, must be at least 6 foot 2. The line up of riders watches while they tuck themselves into the tiny car. The girl gets in the back and then Mr. Tallboy somehow folds himself into the front. As they drive off we see his knees pressed into the dash and he doesn’t look happy.

I’m next and get into the back seat of another red vehicle, but larger, a Jeep SUV. The driver is about 50 and his front seat passenger, already in the car with him, appears to be his mother. He greets me warmly and we chat briefly about the weather then off we go. Plastic covers the floor of the back seat, a Forever 21 shopping bag full of (not Forever 21) clothing sits on the seat next to me. The woman in the front seat starts speaking a rapid fire non stop Spanish monologue which continues for the duration of the trip. I see her ancient hands reflected in the window. They are calloused, worn, hard working hands. She holds a Starbuck’s paper cup and a breakfast bar. A small white plastic cross hangs from the mirror, and numerous religious medals and Lotteria cards decorate the car’s ceiling. A large strawberry shaped air freshner dangles from the car’s ceiling light and is emitting an awful smelling deodorizer, next to a gold sequined butterfly ornament, which is pinned to the ceiling.

Traffic is terrible but not in our happy car pool lane. We hit the bridge at 7:45 along with the sun and arrive in San Francisco at 8 am.

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