Thursday, April 2, 2015

       This week is the first time I have heavily relied on public transportation to get around.  I grew up in a small fringe town of 8,000 – the closest mass transit system was 12 miles away.  In the metro I’ve ridden the light-rail once.  Ridding the busses in San Francisco has truly been a unique experience.  Today we had a woman who was swearing and yelling because another older lady was standing next to the exit.  The first lady wanted to make sure she could get off the bus at her stop.  This morning there was an older sister with her two younger siblings that ended up chastising them fiercely because they were messing with each other's hair.
In contrast, yesterday Miiko made a great friend on the bus to Fisherman’s Wharf.  They had a great time talking about a myriad of topics but spending quite a bit chatting about the man’s experience going back to school to pursue photography.  This guy helped out with directions by telling us which exit was best to get off at.  Today there was a man that joined us on the bus with the woman that was yelling.  His first comment was to the effect of “You’d think after living here for 12 years I’d be used to that”.  We then spoke a little about public transportation, his background and Wisconsin/Minnesota.
These diverse experiences has created a conflict for me.  I like to categorize things as good or bad.  Black or white.  The bus system is both.  It’s great because it reduces emissions harmful to the environment and provides a way for people to get around easily and cheaply.  It’s not so great because I don’t enjoy loud environments and there is a lot of conflict between people that have a home to go to and people temporarily experiencing homelessness.  Maybe I’ll have an answer by the end of the week , or maybe not – I know that these experiences are affording me the opportunity to see what it’s like to live in the city and exposing me to the intricate lives of others.

Holt Hafer

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