So I ended up going to the Ben Lee/Ben Folds/Rufus Wainwright show in San Francisco, as mentioned in my music blog. I’m writing about it here because the concert was somewhat dull and I missed Ben Lee!! He was the only one of the three that I was interested in seeing, and I didn’t even catch a glimpse of his act.
Why? Because I’m an idiot.
I decided to take the Caltrain because the show was at 7:30 and traffic into San Francisco dies down sometime after the vampires and werewolves come out to feast. Unfortunately, my watch was slow and I arrived at the train station just as the train did. For a split second, I considered just getting on, but it would be really embarrassing to get chewed out on a train full of people for not having a ticket.
I saw people unloading bikes and other junk off the train and figured I had time. I ran to the machine, quickly bought my ticket, and turned around just in time to see the train pull away. I actually ran alongside it for a couple of minutes, which is what makes this ordeal truly idiotic.
I even threw my arms up in the air and yelled, “Wait!” like they do in the movies, as if that would actually stop the train. I know at some point I dissed those stupid movie scenes where one of the main characters is in a desperate hurry and just misses the train/bus/plane. I mocked the idea that someone would try yelling, “Wait!” to a large, moving train and think that in doing so, the conductor would stop a train full of people just so he could get on.
Transportation Commissioner: “Bob, your train is running over 30 minutes behind schedule. What’s going on?”
Conductor: “Well, this one guy said, ‘Wait,’ so I had to wait. Don’t you see how that trumps any and all other logical courses of action?”
So, it turns out that this useless last-ditch attempt to get on a train really is an involuntary human reaction to just missing it. And like in the movies, the train usually doesn’t stop. When an individual feels, the community (or as they call it at NI, commununity) reels.
It would have been really cool if it was the 40s and I could just run alongside the moving train while a couple of strong-armed dudes with goofy mustaches pull me onto it. It would have been even cooler if the Caltrain was like the commuter trains in Chicago where you can just buy your dang ticket on the train!
I ended up waiting an hour for the next train, but not before trying and failing to catch another one at the other Mountain View stop.
I made it to the 4th and King stop where Tamara (bless her soul) was waiting for me. We saw the second half of Ben Folds’ show. Some chick tried to rush the stage while Ben was playing the piano and a security guard yanked her off before she even knew what was happening. I don’t know what she was planning to do if she made it to the piano, but I’m thinking it’s better that she didn’t. Rufus was flaming gay and consequently, quite conversational. The show was kinda boring except for the parts where his sister sang with him, which I thought sounded nice.
Then I wolfed down a reuben at Mel’s Diner and, having missed enough trains for one day, took a cab to the 12:01 to San Jose. Missing that train meant hanging out in SF for another 5 hours so I made sure I got there with time to spare. Good thing I did because I got the wrong day-pass ticket and had to go back into the station and buy an add-on.
As an aside, while I was waiting for the doors to the platform to open, some guy asked me, “Is this the train to San Jose?” As it was the only train leaving the station for the rest of the night, I bluntly replied, “I hope so” and went back to instant messaging on my Sidekick. One of his buddies immediately said, “Man, you got zinged!”
So that was a pickup line. I saw that the guy was in a small group of young men and I found it highly unlikely that they’d be standing in a train station at midnight, all three of them unsure which train was theirs.
Flash back to my wait for the next train to SF. Some guy asked me when the next train was, even though I was sitting next to a giant sign containing the schedule. I passed it off thinking he may just not know how to read a train schedule. I don’t think it’s hard, but after watching my ex struggle with the posted bus schedule when we went to Portland, I keep my expectations for the knowledge of the common man very low.
When another commuter train passed without stopping, the guy asked, “That’s not our train is it?” I said, “I think it would have stopped if it were.”
Since when do the intricacies of the public transportation system constitute as pickup lines? Even if I were a “responsive” target and actually wanted to be picked up by Mr. Illiterate or Boy Wigger, where is the conversation supposed to go from there?
The last conversation I had about trains that lasted longer than “Has it come yet?” was with my cousin. He was 3 and PBS’s Shining Time Station had hit its ratings peak.
Gentlemen, it’s time to think outside the station.