Scribble Time 

I’ve been in bed and scribbling into this phone for hours. You’d think I’d want a break. 

There were a lot of social things on the calendar for tonight, and all day I wondered which I’d end up at. I’ve been feeling socially deprived lately. But that’s a complex phenomenon and subject to much revision. And as the day faded into evening, I wanted less to go out and more to stay in and keep my very sick girl company. So I did. There will be plenty of other weekends. 

The tragic fire at a warehouse artist collective in Oakland bears reflection, but it’s all been said. Yes, any of the victims could have been me or close friends. But they weren’t, and as humans at some remove do, we move on. 

We lay here, she being miserable, me eating snacks, and watched a 2001 movie called Heartbreakers. It was fun. In time she passed out (yay for painkillers) and I found myself FB PM’ing with a new friend. Story is this. 

In a Facebook group dedicated to growing up in the Bay Area, someone posted a link to a YouTube video of the old electric commuter trains that ran through my neighborhood before my time. I was super jazzed because there was a three second clip of a red SP car making the turn, in about 1940, from Solano Ave onto Colusa Ave, which are in the North Berkeley neighborhood I grew up in. The Oaks Theater where I saw Bond movies in the 60s was in the background. There were no tracks when I was a kid, but I remember a concrete strip that came down Solano and angled through the gas station as it turned into Colusa. Only recently did I realize that was where they had pulled out  the railroad tracks. Seeing film of a train making that turn made my day. (I grew up on Colusa about three blocks south of Solano.) 

The next film on YouTube happened to be a tribute to the F train, so I watched that too. The F bus was the bus you took from our neighborhood to San Francisco. The F train did the same thing on the same route back in the old train days. This guy had made a little movie about it for his mother, who grew up in the neighborhood and loved the trains. I left a comment. 

Some hours later, he sent me a PM. He’d noticed that we both went to Berkeley High School. We had a few mutual friends but as it happened he graduated four years after me. 

His YouTube handle was different than his Facebook name. It looked oddly familiar. My name was familiar to him too, actually. We pondered back and forth until Aha!  Turns out he’s on the team that reviews applications for Burning Man mutant vehicles. We had interacted over mine back in 2010. His YouTube handle was also his playa name. 

We had a great long conversation about Burning Man and mutant vehicles and maker spaces and high school drama and electric trains and railroad museums etc. Definitely the highlight of the evening. 

Honestly, I don’t regret not going out into the bitter cold to party with my friends at an old bar in Auburn. I would like to have gone, but this evening staying in was better. 


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