I drove in to Dublin/Pleasanton BART station (Bay Area Rapid Transit), to take the train in to San Francisco yesterday. The usual open air parking lot is roped off, being resurfaced. I head into the four or so level parking structure and try to figure out which side is closest to the station, park the car, and commit to memory where I’ve left it. A little twinge of dread lay just under my gut, that feeling and vision of wandering around the structure upon my return, not being able to find the car.
There are newbies wandering around the parking structure and station, looking dazed and confused, reading signs about permit parking, hours to park, or not park. There are two machines one must dominate master at the station, the machine to purchase your ticket to take the train, and the machine to purchase the ticket to register your parked car, entering the slot number and parking fee. Once the tickets are purchased, and car parking registered, you are free to move about the station, it being wise to sprint up the stairs to the platform to see if there is a train waiting to depart.
I settle in to a seat by a window as the train pulls out of the station. Fields of dry grass and hills slip by, and then the urban areas approach. I look down into back yards, some neat and tidy, others not so much. A beach umbrella is set up in one dirt back yard, making me wonder who would sit out here under this umbrella in the dirt. The neighborhoods give way to the outskirts of Oakland, factories and businesses. Shipyards filled with the huge containers used for shipping, junk yards, an old wooden skiff that doesn’t look like it’s seen water in years. There’s UN Towing company; how does one un-tow a car? Churches, coin laundries, the Sunshine Biscuit Company, the Oakland Coliseum; they all blend into the framework of a decaying part of what must have once been a vibrant slice of life here.
The train slows momentarily, and then picks up speed as it heads into the tunnel and under the bay for the dark crossing into the City. It’s a strange feeling to know you are under the bay, and I try not to think about it too much.
Walking up the stairs from the train platform onto the streets of San Francisco makes me feel a bit like Dorothy as she opens the door, after her house has landed in Oz.
Photo by Angeline M