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  • Waiting for a ride

Friday, October 29

The last commute day of the month (for most of us) and what a great ride for me!

A very gray overcast morning which felt more like the middle of the night than the morning – it was dark! The line of cars waiting for riders was wrapped around the block, so no waiting. I hopped into a commercial pick up truck (an electrical contractor), paid my toll and off we went. We chatted about the usual things – the weather, the traffic and in the pockets of silence I enjoyed the driver’s choice of music – classical. He was a very ordinary, electrical-contractor looking type kind of guy, in his late 40s or early 50s. Sort of a long crew-cut, workingman’s attire. He said he prefers classical music and is “tired of all the political advertising” on the commercial radio stations.

That got us into a political chat about the candidates (we don’t like Meg or Carly), the marijuana initiative (he’s not sure about it) and the general state of affairs (politicians are too busy being politicians and not tending to our business). As we drove through the relatively light Friday morning traffic, the sky lightened a bit and nearing Albany I saw a lone white egret, legs tucked straight out behind, flying above the freeway. Another mile down the freeway and a dozen wild ducks journeyd on their migratory way.

Near Berkeley there’s always a grand view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge, and the driver said he’d had the most amazing Golden Gate Bridge experience. “I got to climb up to the top of one of the towers”! I asked him how he managed that, and it was through a friend who’s an electrician with the bridge. He described the tiny elevator they rode in, and the walkway around the tower. He said it was a perfect, clear day and he got a great photo of Baker’s Beach and the City. A rare experience.

As we came over the Bay Bridge with the Ferry Building just below, he said he’d never been in the Ferry Building, although he is a native San Franciscan. I encouraged him (and all of you, too) to pay it a visit. Besides being of historical interest, it’s a delicious adventure in Acme Bread, Cowgirl Creamery and their dozens of delicious cheeses, plus great gelato, olive oil, a fish market with the freshest fish, books, gadgets, restaurants, all terrific. I frequently take the ferry home in the evenings and if I’m not dashing to make the ferry, stop and buy a loaf of bread or some fresh croissants from Acme. “I think I’ll take a ferry ride over one weekend and check it out”, he said.

We said our good-byes at Fremont Street to the background of a rousing piece by Bach on the radio. As I got out, walking up to my bus I had the feeling once again that the casual carpool can be a special very human experience, and is much more than bickering over the tolls. Happy Halloween to all. Our November commutes begin on Monday.

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