Can I stop a minute and tell you how much I love CalTrain?
Now, sometimes, it is the most annoying part of my day. If I miss one, I am stuck for another half hour or more someplace. If there's a game on, forget it: it's all girls with their twee sutter home shot bottles and dudes with Miller Lite. Ugh.
I like the space it gives me. There's no one I have to talk to, unless I want to. Since Travis and Reuben left, I ride by myself almost all the time, unless there is a random person on board that I know, like my friend Biju from Apple.
There's nothing but time. I've learned to knit. I've read a bazillion books. I listened to a DJ mix I made long enough to realize that there is, indeed, the incoming mail sound about 4 minutes into my mp3 copy of A Guy Called Gerald's 'Humanity'.
The coffeeshop guy at the 4th and King station just calls me 'young lady'. I've got to introduce myself one of these mornings when I'm not running late. The conductors are all very efficient, considering what layoffs there were not long ago. They're all Amtrak employees, some for dozens of years. They're also required to be deputized police officers now, to prevent trouble and throw ruffians off s. The younger guy on the late night s likes to drink and talk about how this is the easiest job he's had. The older guys in the morning talk about their grandkids, and greet me with a "Good Morning, beautiful!"
"How's that book?" one wanted to know today. Often, I'm still so groggy that my throat catches and I can't answer right away, instead I croak some nonsense. They never mind a bit, just keep walking along.
My first interview down here, the guy asked me on the way in what I was up to, and on the way back how it went, and congratulated me.
It takes about an hour to get to Redwood City. Through this time, the passes two homeless encampments, the dump, the empty Paul Avenue station. It also passes along the side of the bay, foggy and misted in. It clunks through the hills just south of the city, the ones too tall to fit a house onto, so right now, in springtime, they roll up a lovely green.
I pass Artichoke Joe's casino, which always has cars in the parking lot.
I pass hundreds of business spaces for lease, but few houses for sale.
San Mateo starts the Nerd Hill communities, the dotcom money still feeding into McMansions. Belmont is especially pretty in its own moneyed way. I wonder about the Indian restaurant with the pretty awning.
It is so interesting to me to see all this life that exists outside of my own, all these people incredibly different from me.