Modern times

There was senseless graffiti scrawled on the concrete bench at the North Concord BART station. Next to it, a can of Grizzly Mint chewing tobacco. Pretzels and acne pads were scattered on the ground. I immediately suspected Rachel Ray's publicist. It had to be them. She's got her mitts into everything.

The woman who lives on the 19th St. Oakland platform, my train stop, was in fine fettle. I had heard her earlier, from my second floor workspace, yawping down the street like the poster child for Tourette's. "(mumble mumble) GOD DAMN IT! (mumble mumble) MOTHER FUCKAH! (mumble mumble)." When I went to catch my train she was there, at the end of the platform, waiting for me; and not just me, anybody who came near her: "You think you can do that. (mumble mumble) I'm talkin' to YOU, NIGGAH! (mumble mumble) Go ahead WALK AWAY, BITCH!"

The woman who lives on the 19th St. platform always wears the same black clothing; black flip flops, black pants, and a black hooded jacket that makes her look remarkably like a Star Wars collectible. Darth Hideous. Darth Homeless.

There's another woman with a hooded jacket I see every day, at my train stop. She wears the same tan hood, draw-strings pulled tight around her face, and blue pants. Or several sets the same color over time, perhaps. She pilots a powered wheelchair, her legs atrophied and curled under her. With her hood fastened tightly on her head she be hella-aerodynamic because she is fast in that chair. She zooms along the platform, whipping past pedestrians, and into the elevator. I don't know a thing about her, and have never spoken with her, but there's something in her eyes, some defiance or fierce spirit, that I find appealing.

I always seem to write about the homeless and the mad on the streets of Oakland, never about my co-workers or the rest of the wage slaves downtown. I guess I find them boring, although I don't suppose there's much difference between them. Why, just today a big fella with a bushy blond beard and long hair, a few strands of which were held with a rubber band, came walking purposefully along the sidewalk with a 1000 yard stare on his face. He stopped and reached into a garbage can, pulling out a half eaten salad in a styrofoam container, a styrofoam cup with the lid still on, and even some pristine paper napkins. He took his lunch to a nearby bench, sat down, and began to eat. Slap an ID lanyard around his neck and some Haggar sans-a-belt slacks on him and he'd be pretty much like any other prarie-doggin' cube dweller around here.

Then there was the woman with the gigantic wig, the other day, on the shuttle from the BART in Emeryville. It looked like she had taken several hairpieces and stitched them together. The result completely covered her head and must have been most uncomfortable. Imagine nine large, multi-colored Maine Coon cats laying on this woman's head. She acted normally in all other respects.

Sometimes I don't get people's behavior on the BART. On the platforms, they'll stand rigidly in line at the designated spots where the trains pull up and open their doors, whether its rush hour or not. And once on a crowded train, forget about getting them to even think about stepping out of the doorway and onto the platform, temporarily, to let somebody off.

Having marched their way onto a train and secured their territory, do they respect everyone's limited space? Of course not. Once upon a time, people with newspapers generally folded them into rectangles. They would unfold them, turn the page, and then refold to continue reading. Not anymore. People now, and I'm talking about men, generally, just open the newspaper up wide, elbows poking out, legs spread, taking up space in the aisle and the seat next to them. I want to flic my Bic under their sports section.

It's still better than rush hour traffic.
  • Current Mood: derailed
There's only one homeless person that I pay any sort of attention to (which I'm sure puts me in the "Bitch Hall of Fame"), and only because I worry about him. I've never met him, but I see him every morning on my way to work. He stands on a corner in dirty coveralls with a sign that I can't make out. He often stands out there when the temperature is below 0 and I get angry with him for not being at the shelter when it's that cold.

Today, he was standing out in the freezing rain with a flimsy plastic rain cover thing on.

I wish he'd move elsewhere so I could bring him a warm breakfast or a blanket or something, but he's on a corner at a heavy intersection, and I'm always in the opposite lane to make my turn. Perhaps if I could ever get my ass out of the house early enough, I'd have time for the side trip.

And I agree about the public transit riders. Rude, rude, rude! Of course, I get acosted and am regaled with tales of menopause from women who think I qualify for such anecdotes.
And I agree about the public transit riders. Rude, rude, rude! Of course, I get acosted
I bury my nose in a book and its all good.
i need to carry a blade for all the "hunchback students" who insist on wearing their backpacks whilst turning to and fro and whomping people with them in the process. we even have sporadic announcements to remove them once they board. deaf ears, mute manners.

every once in a great and GREAT while, i'll time my subway ride in the morning to coincide with a fresh, empty train pulling into my station. it's really quite lovely to see, not just because i get a seat but because we ALL gets seats and most everyone sports giddy silent smiles at each other - like we've all just potted the winning goal of a game.
Because my stop is next to last on one of the lines I invariably get a seat in the morning and because I tend to stay late at work I usually get one on the way back. Yay me.