My apologies for not blogging today. It’s been a peculiar day, to say the least. I tried to get some work done this morning, but between phone calls and interruptions, I found myself staring at the clock and realizing that I was going to be late for Daniel DiSilva’s talk about his book, Government against Itself: Public Union Power and Its Consequences. I always underestimate how long it will take me to get to the City, and today I was determined to give myself lots of time. Thank goodness I did.
Things started off weird as soon as I left the house. Because of the storms this weekend, one of the intersections no longer has a timed traffic light; it simply had flashing red lights. As always, people stopped much, much longer at the flashing red than they would at an ordinary stop. Those things just seem to freak them out a little. Indeed, at some point later today, some driver got so freaked out that he (or she) slammed into one of the traffic lights, knocking it to the ground, pulverizing the pavement, and further ruining traffic flow on this peaceful little road with a maximum speed of 30 MPH.
I eventually made it to the southbound side of the freeway, heading to San Francisco, but saw to my dismay that the traffic was completely stopped. That could only mean an accident — or perhaps not. . . .
As the traffic crept forward, I saw that it had stopped because a man with a big smile and a dog on the leash was walking northbound in the middle lane of the freeway. I think that, maybe, the man’s car had broken down on the side of the road and that a friend, sitting in that same middle lane was a big white truck that seemed to be waiting for him. All I could think was “What a peculiar way to rescue a friend who’s broken down on the freeway.”
After that, things seemed to go well for a little while. This was my first time seeing the new $31 million movable barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s really, really ugly. I certainly hope that it’s worth the money and aesthetic loss. It seems like a fairly big sacrifice when there have been fewer than 20 head-on fatalities on the bridge in the last 40 years.
Once in the City, my plan was to park at the affordable Portsmouth Square Garage in Chinatown and then use Uber to get to the restaurant, which is located at the base of Market Street, an area with very expensive parking. One block away from the garage, though, I again found myself in completely stopped traffic. Inching forward, I discovered that, in the middle of the Clay and Kearny intersection (a fairly busy one for those who know the City), a woman was singing and dancing, with occasional pauses to throw things out of her basket onto the street and then pick them up again. Even for San Francisco, it was unusual behavior.
The people in the garage were very helpful, so I made it out of there quickly, snatched up my iPhone, turned on my Uber app — and got a message saying my app was out of date and unusable, so would I please download the new app. Do you know how long it takes to download an app without Wifi? It takes 12 minutes, which is how long it took me to walk very quickly from the Portsmouth Square garage, to a restaurant near the Embarcadero.
By the end of the drive, I felt discombobulated, and I’ve felt discombobulated ever since. I somehow got knocked off my stride or, for another metaphor, my flywheel got a hitch in it. Whatever. I just can’t seem to get myself back on track today. I’ve still got some legal work to do before I can get to bed (my afternoon was piddled away caring for family members), and I think I just need to reboot. Tomorrow promises to be a bit more normal.