I will not pretend I don’t love to drive, but really, the Bay Area needs to get its act together transit wise. The other night I met Georgie for his birthday dinner in the city (he came in from Reno, it was the first I’ve seen him in maybe four years). I could have taken the BART in, because, unlike most venues, this place was close to a stop. But Heesun doesn’t live by a BART station (or any transit really) and it would have taken me 10 minutes to drive to the station, 10 to park, walk, and get the tix, 10 to wait for the train, 20 to ride into SF, and 10 more to walk to the restaurant. An hour. Instead, I hopped in the car and was there in 20 minutes for a third of the cost. That’s not right in a city like San Francisco. Yeah, I could have done it, but it was way too much work. I got home in about ten minutes.It’s so strange and lovely to see old friends and spend some real time with them. Heesun, Lide, Sherry, George, and, next week, Alys, all from way back. I feel off kilter because when I’m at home, I have so little time to spend with friends, and so many don’t live in NY anyway. It’s hard to have such important people so far away.
Georgie and I went to Santa Cruz on Wednesday, which has changed since last visited in ’89. It was a great day, and I took some fun pics. I still do not know where I stand as far as the pictures go. Editing I’ve never liked, and it’s a larger part of digital photog than film. I do love to make stories, though I feel guilty about the time spent. The internet feels unclean to me, now that I’m on vacay. So easy to fritter time, and sometimes playing with pics feels that way as well, though writing seldom does. Writing, in fact, has a cleansing quality to it. But the entire production most definitely takes from the moment. I haven’t read that much because I’ve been out and about and online. I know that I need a break from school reading, but at the same time, the no internet, no junk, just resting and reading is really a beautiful thing and I haven’t done that yet. The trip is half over, as of today. Hmm.
The Santa Cruz pics are half edited. I left Heesun’s today for Sherry’s place for a few days, up in Sonoma County. She lives and works on a nature preserve, where she’s an ecologist. Pulling up to the fence, punching in the code, and driving into the preserve was great punctuation for the shift of location (in case the interminable traffic en route was not). She made me hummus with her hand-crank blender.
And some taboule. When she came down to Berkeley last week she biked to the bus, then another, then the BART, then biked the rest—a 50-mile trip she chose to do without her truck. She’s got a commitment to public transport that requires a hell of a lot of patience. But this is the woman who biked across Australia on her own (it’s almost nothing but desert. Aussie’s thought she was mad).
She’s not mad. She’s brilliant. And interesting and fun. It’s so good to see her again.
She’s also made me question the way I do things, and the opening kvetch about bay area transit. If we are going to change the rate at which we destroy the planet, we are going to have to be inconvenienced in some ways, because it’s the mindset of ultra-convenience and the culture of consumption and ease that is the problem. Sherry walks her talk, and few do that. She reuses everything, bikes everywhere, uses a hand crank blender and windup radio. She buys her rice, beans, and nuts in bulk and brings her own reused bags to carry them. She buys her clothes, books, housewares, and tools second hand. She fixes her seldom-used truck and oft-used bikes herself. She grows veggies in her garden. She loves to know how things work, and she puts her knowledge to good use. She volunteers her Sunday afternoons to a community bike center in Santa Rosa. It’s not about wearing expensive organic clothes or driving a trendy car. It’s living in a way she believes in.
I’ll be honest. There’s no way the clean freak in me is going to reuse most ziplocks. But how hard is it to bring my own bags to the store with me (I do it only about 60%)? Or a mason-type jar to Samad’s for my hummus? Get a good bottle and mug for water/tea/coffee and fill that instead of using paper and plastic all the time? Or even take the BART to the city, though it’s longer and a bit of a hassle? It doesn’t make a difference you say? I think that it does. Intent, in itself, makes a difference.