No one came in to San Francisco today. The train felt almost post-apocalyptic.
Of course not a real apocalypse. How could the trains still be running after a real apocalypse? And there would be no others aboard rather than the seeming 33-50% reduction witnessed this morn.
But the dreams were intense enough last night and the empty train car surreal enough to beg the question of which was reality.
Quickly the question turns to evaluation, to analysis, to logic. It is summer, after all, with the first and longest day over the weekend. We are trained from an extremely early age to take off in the summer, to alter our schedule when the weather warms and expect things to get better, easier, calmer. July fourth looms on the horizon, but surely not everyone is taking their requisite two weeks starting now?
And indeed the weather has snapped rigidly cold, back to Mark Twain’s San Francisco “summer” after a week’s reprieve sent from balmier climes. Could people have somehow foreseen, checked a 30-day forecast and requested their week now, departing sunny and warmed for a place that would stay that way in June’s final week? Could that kind of prescience been in play, anticipating how difficult it would be to face another bitter, teasing joke from the City’s skies?
Unlikely. Indeed more likely that the decision was faced 30 minutes prior, not 30 days. That facing a window and a weather report, many chose to burrow rather than bolt, to neither fly nor flee, but freeze. Or beg not to freeze ’neath an added blanket, holding an ironically brewed cup in the face of no need to wake.
Staring awake, envisioning an empty train, its few riders unnerved by the sense of watching rats walk the ropes, single-file, out of the ship’s hold. Some carrying small bags or little blocks of cheese and meat from last night’s feast. Suddenly the yestereats turn in one’s own stomach, one notices the rocking of the waves a bit more, shoulders slouch and hunch as one braces unconscious for unimagined impact. One knows not whether to vomit over the side or to jump. Or to hang on for dear life.
Yes, no doubt they nestle amongst the bedclothes, stretching in that utterly relaxed way, regretting caffeine but taking solace in leaving the seats alone today. The trains were running late and stalling often; even conductors are not immune to waves of intuition, to coordinated impromptu staycations. We are all more connected than we could ever imagine.
And our constant reminder of same, the price of oil, rocketing ever skyward as though it could outrun the rain. Threatening to capsize a once proud crew of sailors, leave them faced with water that had been so untouched and unthreatening as to seem metaphorical. I sail on a mythical ocean, they might’ve bragged back in port. It looks of water, but ’tis made of glass. We slide along like skaters on the ice.
Eventually all things break. Glass, ice, people, even rats. We are not meant to experience infinince on this planet, only to gaze upon the concept in wonder and disbelief. That which endures here may be somewhat overblown. Best not to make too much of longevity and focus on the meaning in that which we see, feel, touch, sense.
Sense. Use it. Maybe tomorrow, the trains will stop altogether.
In the meantime, friends, it looks like a deluge. Even the sidewalks of the Tenderloin are clear. And those here are in motion. Running in circles feels like progress when you know it’s wrong to stay in one place. Walking beats standing. Standing beats sitting. Sitting beats lying down, at least outside of a bedclothes bunker.
It’s morning in America, but I don’t see much daylight.