MLK

January 18, 2016

I am working on Martin Luther King day. My commute today was split, like a soft cookie, into two separate and unequal halves.

I

The schedule-planning set at BART proved they’re lousy gifters by offering a Saturday schedule to a Monday crowd. That’s twenty minutes between trains for the forced-into-work fracas to seethe and forget that any other human has ever suffered. As we dangle there, shoulder-to-shoulder, a nasal voice from overhead does its best to mellow the crowd. “Welcome to public transit,” the conductor reminds us. “Sometimes we have to cram them in.”

II

The train exhales and I’m at 16th Street in San Francisco. I’m late so lengthen my stride for a bus that’s pulling up. I make it in time for a youngish brunette’s questions to the driver: “Do you go by Alabama street?” (She’s picked a great day to learn the bus.) “As a matter of fact, I’m from Mississippi—how did you know?” And the driver explodes with laughter. He’s happy today.

When I take a seat, the doors close, and the driver grabs the radio:

“Happy Monday everybody! This is a day when dreams come true.”

Everybody looks up from their phones.

“And you know… my dream came true! I hope yours does too. Today you can do anything. Welcome to the 22.”