Back to BART

I’ve been driving my car over to Union City for the past dozen or so appointments with my Korean doctor in Union City

Yeah, not very green, not very cheap, either: these days it takes about four gallons of gas, roundtrip. That’s in the neighborhood of $14.00 in gas alone. Add in the $5 fee for the Bay Bridge and we’ll call it $20. BART costs exactly half that, and I get to read or write or sketch or just zone out while getting there. And getting home.

There’s honestly nothing interesting about the East Bay as seen from BART. It emerges in West Oakland, then goes back underground through Oakland, then re-emerges past that and down to Union City. Well, all the way to Fremont, actually, but south of Oakland, it’s really all the same. Sometimes literally.

Oakland Skyline The Oakland skyline only got interesting after those twin mini-towers with the pyramidal rooftops went up ten or fifteen years ago, and like I said everything south of there just looks all the same.

Well, except for the palace of a church sitting way back there up in the Oakland Hills, directly East of the Fruitvale Station. I think the Mormons put that up there: it is awfully, awfully white. Pretty, honestly, but standoffish—like of the Plastics from Mean Girls.

Now, I didn’t say that all of the East Bay is boring [try not to giggle, try not to giggle] just the view from BART. For instance, if you go to Hayward you can see quite easily where the earth jolted in 1989 and shifted the ground a few inches: look down a line of parking meters and see that it’s no longer a line. Oh, and the City of Hayward built a new City Hall building before Loma Prieta guess where? Right on the faultline. And whose fault (groan) is that? No matter, damage done: the building is as far as I know uninhabitable. Oh, and the city does have a Casper Dogs.

Then there’s South Hayward Station, right near where that fucker of a quack of an “Independent Medical Evaluator” asked me:

  • What’s 3 x 3? It took me a couple of seconds to be sure of my answer
  • Spell the word WORLD backwards. Still not sure if I spelled it D-L-R-O-W or D-L-O-R-W
  • Who’s the President of the United States? that one came to me immediately, scowl and all
  • Is the United States currently at war? I said yes, even though I knew it wasn’t really technically a war—Congress made no Declaration—but this guy couldn’t give a shit about listening to anything I had to say, short of short answers—think shyster lawyer cutting off a witness a la “have you stopped beating your spouse?”

And that, gentle readers, was the entirety of a “Concentration Test” which demonstrated that I was fit to debug a giant, complex, not-written-by-me application. Gods Below.

Union City though, is different. Wait, no it’s not. It’s suburban, beige sprawl, replete with fast food joints and unremarkable, usually single-storey office buildings and apartment complexes so unutterably bland that you’d need a map to find your own apartment until you remembered the exact set of turns and stops that gets you home. And that’s just the part of the trip where you’re already inside the complex. My friend Don (see banner pic) was the one who introduced me to the term Condolandia, but he was referring to Redwood Shores. Wait, same thing. Except that the water is East rather than West.

But Dr. Chon is there, and that makes the whole East Bay interesting enough. Well past Enough.