Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

The Detour

The following article was just published by the SF Chronicle:

A Muni Metro train struck and killed a man this afternoon at the Castro Station, San Francisco police said.

Muni halted train service in both directions between the Embarcadero and West Portal stations and moved passengers by bus.

I step into a MUNI train heading into downtown. As our train approaches Duboce and Church, it stops. A few minutes later, the driver comes onto the PA system. We don’t have to go home, but we can’t stay there.

As I step off the bus, a cloudless sky invites me to talk a walk as I pass by a caravan of stopped trains. I have no idea how long it will take, but I follow a path on Duboce that leads me to Market, then to Stockton, and finally to my destination. On the way, I pass by multiple MUNI stops, all of which have been boarded up; the Orpheum Theatre, which features a black-and-green poster for Wicked; and a part of the Tenderloin that might be fine for daylight, but I probably won’t want to walk back this way.

The destination changes to a starting point within fifteen minutes, and I head over to Powell. It seems the MUNI is still closed, and the dispatcher has no idea when it will reopen. I get out my phone to look for an alternate route and notice that I have an e-mail. It turns out a friend is going to be in the area, but probably not for another ninety minutes. Perhaps I should just go home and eat. I send off a text, anyway, and it turns out that the ninety minute estimate has been recalculated to thirty.

In those thirty minutes, I do some grocery shopping at Bristol Farms in Westfield. Two boxes of cereal, some apples, tofu, and pasta go into my cart, and I proceed to the checkout, with a winding line that reminds me of Disney World. The ride is at the checkout, where I learn that if I pick up some chocolate, they’ll throw in one of their fabric bags. It’s hard to refuse, especially since I was eyeing the chocolate, anyway.

Yay! The ride was fun, and it ends just in time to rendezvous with my friend. We catch up over dinner and coffee, with updates on life, work, family, and friends before heading our separate ways. I head above ground and find a bus. It is packed: strange bodies touching the bodies of strangers. I step aboard, anyway, and begin my workout of the day, trying to shift my center of gravity while compensating for the shopping bag in my right hand, a moving vehicle, and the body odor of hostile neighbors. My efforts don’t always succeed, which only increases the neighborly hostility, and one dares not imagine what else.

Eventually the bus makes it to Haight, and I get off at Clayton. It’s dark now, but I find a path that gets me home, still oblivious to the events that carved my day.


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