Bubble Person

I dropped my car off at the shop for a windshield replacement this morning. I was in SF, a ways away from the office. How should I get there? I thought about calling a Lyft, but I consider that a lazy last resort when I’m in the city.

I had some time, so I decided to walk 20 minutes to Dynamo for donuts. I was amused to walk by all the giant Spanish billboards I’ve been reading from the freeway. Five minutes in, I remembered that auto repair shops are never in nice neighborhoods. I passed by countless homeless folks as I walked alongside and traversed a maze of underpasses.

Each one of them made eye contact and we nodded a hello. Quite honestly, that is more human contact than I get from most privileged home-dwelling passersby in the city. What does that say about us?

I took a wrong turn and went up the the Chavez-Peralta Stairs. I had no idea these were here! I love random city stairs. They were a serious climb, but when I got to the top, I was treated to a fantastic view of all the overpasses I’d just crossed under.

I’m laughing a little at “fantastic view of overpasses”. What can I say, I’m fascinated by infrastructure.

Made it to Dynamo! Pricey donuts in the Mission. Because gentrification. I’m somewhat torn about this.

I considered my route to the office. I could walk another half hour, but I was tired and hungry. I considered hopping on a Ford GoBike, but there were no stations near me. Muni to the rescue! Turned out there was a bus line that ran from ~Dynamo to work.

Hopped on the 10 Townsend. In the winter I take this to the train station after dark, but today I got to ride from the beginning of the route to stop I usually get on.

Off we went, me and a couple guys from the Mission rolling quietly through a neighborhood of gentrification in progress. We wound up the hill, hung a left, and found ourselves in the projects. I recalled studying these ill maintained buildings from the freeway as I sat in traffic earlier this week. And here we were. A couple more guys got on. Totally different vibe. They chatted with each other loudly in the back.

Down the other side of the hill we went, this time through a mostly white collar San Francisco neighborhood undergoing significant construction to upgrade million dollar homes into multi million dollar homes. More passengers, this time tech workers. iPhones and headphones. A totally different vibe again.

We crested the hill and were treated to a breathtaking view of downtown. As we came back down, an Asian immigrant mother and her young son got on.

We arrived at my stop. That bus would go on to many more neighborhoods, each as distinct as the ones before it.

I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable during certain parts of my commute this morning, but I’m glad I chose this route. I live in a very lucky bubble, it’s important to stick my head out and look around every once in a while, so I don’t go around acting like an ignorant bubble person.


  1. Are there multiple named stairs in SF? Also, infrastructure can be cool, depends on how it is planned and executed. Bubbles, however, can be very uncool, but we seem to fall into them far too easily.

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