13 May 2001

Lately I've been practicing the black art of journomancy, although I am merely a novice. Journomancy? You know what that is. It's when your friends keep online journals, and you try to figure out what's actually going on in their lives from what their journals say. You try to figure out how they would have told you the same story if it had gone in a letter. There are at least two people who have me practicing journomancy right now. Some days more. "A nice time? What does that mean, a nice time?"

Well, we had a nice time at the Albatross last night, which means that I got to see people I already liked -- Sean, Lori, Ken (and his new book cover, snazzy!), and Rebecca. And I got to meet Sam (or Ling -- and Sean decided that a SamorLing is a three-foot-tall samurai, I think), whom I thought I'd like. And I got to meet Avi, whom I had no idea I'd like, because I didn't know he existed, but he was cool, too. And I got to have a mocha with Bailey's in it. Num. We talked. We laughed. All was well. Timprov's and my backs mostly behaved themselves. (I sat on the comfy side of the table. Last time we went to the Albatross, I sat on the uncomfy side, and my butt felt bruised for days. I hope that this is the last entry mentioning my butt for many, many days. But the bench there is just nasty hard.)

The strangest thing for me -- and this just shows how my standards are warped -- was that Sam's voice was maybe a fifth higher than I thought it'd be. For some reason, her prose feels pretty alto to me, and Sam is clearly a soprano. Go figure. When I met Karen, she sounded like I had imagined a Karen to sound. Tim sounded an awfully lot like a Tim. Mary Anne did at the very least a believable imitation of a Mary Anne voice. But Sam took me by surprise. Anyway.

Then, at 9:00, we left the Albatross to go home.

Now, the Albatross is about four to six blocks from the North Berkeley train station. It's a pleasant walk through a residential area (although we were a little frightened by the extremely trimmed hedges in many of the houses, feeling that Edward Scissorhands was going to pop out any minute). That part was nice, too.

And then. Well. I've been talking about a special relationship in my life, a little bit here. And I have to say that while it's not over between us, the bloom is certainly off the rose. BART's and my honeymoon is over. Wow, did they screw up.

I should have known it would be a long ride home. when I stuck my ticket, bearing $3.70, into the turnstile to get into the train area. It said, "See agent." Well, I would have, except I couldn't. See an agent, that is. There was none to be found. It was an omen. So I bought a new ticket ($10) and went along my somewhat weary way, down to the trains. We got on the train. It started. And stopped. And started. And shuddered. And then, at Ashby Station (two down the road), the conductor came on to say, "Folks, we've got a brake problem here. I'm going to shut down the train for a moment to recycle the problem."

I think that's a mistake, myself. If I have a problem, I try to solve it. Or fix it. Or at least make it disappear. But recycling it seems like a bad idea. I'm really hoping that "to recycle" is not gaining use as a generalized verb meaning "to fix."

But recycle the problem he did. We got through MacArthur Station and stopped again at Nineteenth St. And then we sat in the train awhile longer. And then we had to get off the train and wait for a new train. But the old train didn't leave.

Do you know why we left the Albatross? Because we were tired. And we hurt. ("I'm in pain! And I'm wet! And I'm still hysterical!" I've got to stop quoting that movie, or certain people who have managed to attain advanced ages without seeing it will never want to see it.) And when the train didn't come and we were standing in the station? We were still tired. And we still hurt. We eventually had to change platforms and wait some more. And it was Nineteenth St. station. So I'm having little internal conversations like, "Maybe we could call David and he could make it all better." "Oh, yeah, he could just put on his Superman suit and push the train out of the way." "Shut up, brain! Who put you in charge, anyway?" And you know what? Those were more sensical than the ones I was having out loud with Timprov.

When we finally got on our real train home, it was on the wrong tracks, also going the wrong way. And we had a conductor who seemed to think that if prompt service was unavailable, excessively informative service was the next best thing. My favorite was, "Next stop is Fruitvale station. The platform will be to your right, not to your left as it usually is. That is, if you're facing the forward-moving direction of the train [by now, such a direction had already changed once in the y-turn-around or maybe the why-turn-around], the platform will be on your right. Please exit the train to your right. Not your left. Onto the platform."

For those of you who have never ridden BART, this may seem like it's more useful information than it actually is. See, BART has these newfangled inventions called "windows." And the platform (at least at Fruitvale) is only on one side of the train. And the doors only open on one side of the train. So in order for this information to be necessary, you would have to ignore the fact that the right side clearly had a platform and the left did not, break down the doors on the left side (ignoring the open doors on the right side, which make noise), and jump down onto the track.

Timprov started George Carlin-ing the conductor. I'm not sure how funny it would have been if I'd been wide awake, but it was hysterical last night. My favorite was when the conductor told us, "We will be proceeding to Bayfair Station at a travel speed of 76 miles per hour." Timprov said, "Cruising at an altitude of 35 feet?" The conductor was pointing out landmarks. He was repeating five or six times where, exactly we were going. "This is a Fremont train. This train is headed for Fremont. Fremont train. Destination Fremont...." We got home two hours and fifteen minutes after leaving Berkeley. You know what? I think you might could beat that in a car in rush hour.

And the last straw: my brand new $10 ticket wouldn't let me out. It kept saying "see agent." It was 11:30 on a Saturday night! The agent was nowhere to be seen! So I left the ticket (so as not to feel guilty for cheating BART -- and besides, it probably wouldn't have let me in with the "in" making still on), jumped the turnstile, and left. Whew.

Oof. So. I'm tired still today. But it's Mother's Day, so I'm going to call my mom. And then my grandma. You know what I hate about Mother's Day cards? Half of them say, "Mom, I know I don't say it very much, but...." Which is stupid. I say it all the time.

Might as well say it again. Love you, Mom. I'm proud of you. And I'm glad you're my mom.

And now for something completely different...there was a headline in today's paper: "Police seek man who exposes himself to female motorists." I read it out loud. Mark and I looked at each other. He said, "That just doesn't sound like the sort of thing they should be hiring for."

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