A journey to PA on a weekend

I normally would never take the caltrain on the weekend, but if it wasn’t for good friend Joe in town…I would have never made it.

8:00 am this morning
Alarm goes off. It is silent outside for once. Barely a car moving unlike the usual bustle of San Francisco weekdays. I love my bed at this moment and my down feather comforter.

About 10 minutes later
I peel myself away from my bed and get dressed. I realize that the black and white zebra print won’t do and remind myself to use it for Bay To Breakers next week. It will work well for the Million Pirate March if I can’t come up with a theme by then. I quickly swap for the other $5 H&M skirt I got during December.

8:31 am
I race out the door, mentally checking off whether I brought everything. Wallet. Phone. Keys. Camera. DS. Book. Notebook. Pen. Gift for Joe. I push my way through a crowd of middle aged men crowded around the 23rd and Valencia bus stop. Not such a pleasant smell.

Less than 3 minutes later
I thought the bus schedule said that the 48 was going to arrive at 8:35 am. Breathlessly, I arrive at 24th street, looking at the next muni digital header. 48 2 minutes. Ok. Fine.

8:37 am
I slightly wave at the bus thundering down the hill. The bus driver, a thirty-something Asian man, smiles as I get on the bus. Perhaps because I am Asian and look normal?

Sometime after 8:40 am
We wind along Potrero Hill. I hold my breath as we go through the projects on the south side of Potrero. I started thinking about who would live next to the projects—the nicely built houses. I almost lived on 25th in Potrero but couldn’t justify the freeway sound…and the projects being only 3 blocks away. I wonder whether bus drivers are afraid of driving through the projects…and especially Hunters Point. Are they happy with that job or happier driving the crosstown routes to downtown with irate financial analysts?

8:52 am
I arrive at the 22nd and Pennsylvania station. There’s some Asian girl that also gets off. During the ride there, I wondered if she was visiting her mother too, but she didn’t follow me to the caltrain station. At the station, I walk back and forth, not afraid of the station despite its desolateness under the freeway but more because I was trying to figure out the optimal way to get on the caltrain.

9:02 am
My savior arrives. I mean…the caltrain. I board.

9:10 am
I call Joe and announce my specifics.

More than an hour later
I arrive. I walk under the tunnel to University and walk to High. I am early and I walk around the area, studying the Bead Store, the front entrance to Facebook, and Palo Alto weather. Yeah, I don’t want to live here. Well, maybe I could in a few years. When I have a car.

Insert lots of good food and fun with Joe. Fast forward hours later.

Around 5 pm
Stupid. Is the ticket dispenser only located on the Southbound side? I am irritated and jog my way to the opposite platform to buy a 10-ride ticket. God, the tunnel smells. Or was it the guy with a huge black bag that just passed me?

1 minute later
Oh wait, I didn’t explore the northbound platform enough. Stupid. I’ll just buy the ticket here.

3 minutes later
Waiting. Again. Want to take nap, but metal bench is not conducive to such things.

10 minutes later
A loud African American couple particularly the male interrupts my nap by moving stuff around on the other side of the bench. He asks me if the drink lying on its side is mine. I shake my head. They continue chattering.

5:31 pm
It chugs and I get on.

Somewhere later
I fall asleep and the conductor interrupts my nap. TICKETS?! I hold out my nearly smeared ticket. Satisfied, he moves on. I really want to put my feet on the seat, but I don’t want to get admonished or fined for such deed.

6:40 pm
I realize that I have arrive and quickly rush to the door…stumbling out to the 22nd and Pennsylvania station. I can’t figure out where the bus stop is and wished that I had planned my departure better. I follow a father and 2 kids around until I realized they weren’t going to the bus stop. I eventually find it. I pull out my phone and realize that the bus isn’t going to come for 25 minutes. There’s the T that runs nearby which means it will take 40 minutes to get back. I reject the idea.

10 minutes later
It’s windy and cold. A bus with Garage in its destination sign arrives on the other side of the street. The bus driver heads into the builder with a white bag. A girl wearing a blue hoodie gives an annoyed expression.

5 minutes later
I am ignoring the wind while I read The Life of Pi. I really do like tigers but now I know not to pet them.

Some time later
A bus arrives. I get on.

Much later
Three African American girls get on. They’re are super loud and talk about how a boyfriend didn’t call them to say Happy Mother’s Day. I learned a lot about what they did during the day. I think they’re teenagers and don’t know what it means to be quiet while taking public transit.

A little bit later
I get off at my stop and realize that Zain’s has closed. Good riddance. Didn’t like their wraps.

A minute later
I walk past a group of middle aged men. They have a stereo with them. Loud. I keep my sunglasses on.

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