I may have a cold, but I also have a body, and it’s aching, so I’m off to get some bodywork. Interesting how this word has evolved from the automotive to the corporeal. But there you have it. And although I am run down, I believe in the mysterious healing power of my Rolfer. What is the latter? I’m not sure I really know. A guy who does, you know, bodywork.
My trip diagonally across town requires two buses, if one is to exert minimal effort. No buses, if one has the concentration to drive. And I guess I really don’t, not today. Besides, once the journey is underway, damned if I don’t run right into urban reality. San Francisco’s traffic is one thing in the morning, and a remarkably different thing in the afternoon. Whatever is happening vis-à-vis cars on Mission Street, is happening by about a factor of two. Actually, soon I am rather glad to not be driving. And I’m pretty glad to be boarding the 14R express bus. The pleasure is a qualified one, because once on board, it’s clear there really isn’t room. One wheelchair, a wide one at that, is taking up an inordinate amount of space. The occupant has parked in the allocated area, but only half. The rest of the chair is blocking the aisle. Which means me.
San Francisco transit drivers are a strong and sturdy breed. I mean this without an ounce of irony. Intelligent, alert to troubles, they keep things literally rolling. This particular driver has left her seat and wandered back to where the offending wheelchair has badly parked. She tells the occupant to move closer to the bus wall. The man in question, probably in his late 50s, isn’t a terribly dab hand at maneuvering. My guess is he’s a recent user. Whatever the history, the present is dominated by his partner or wife. She screams quite literally at the driver. Say please. She says a few other things, all a variation on a similar theme. And most significantly she has a voice that both bellows and rasps. As a stage presence, she would be unforgettable. As a bus passenger her mark is indelible. I thank the bus driver profusely as she drops the ramp 10 blocks away.
Because this is an express bus, I find myself in slightly uncharted territory. Normally I alight at 18th St., but this is 20th St., and all bets are off. Lunch is off too at the first place I stop. But so is my timing. I am only mildly hungry. So I continue on to my bodyworker’s office, kick back in the waiting room reading the day’s horrors in the New York Times. And at 3 PM I knock on his door. He is surprised to see me. He thought I was coming next week. Whose mistake is this? I’m too tired to pursue it. And too annoyed. I can tell he thinks I am old and confused. Problem is, I think so too. I grow old, I shall wear my neurons rolled.
Which brings me at an awkward hour in search of light sustenance. A macchiato, some avocado toast. And I am back on the commuter road. This time I make a stop at a green grocer. The latter is a quaint term of art. It’s actually a Hispanic Mission Street vegetable stand. Someone helps me get spinach in a plastic bag. Then I fight my way inside. The aisles are narrow. The customers are plentiful. I feel stupid and intrusive and a failure of everything retail. Still, I do manage to spend $1.99 on spinach and tomatoes, a deal unequaled almost anywhere in California. I have had my outing. And, in terms of the cold, I am feeling better.