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ERIN IN THE BAY

A place to share my photography, writing, and thoughts as a Bay Area transplant. Stop in whenever you'd like.

Posts tagged bay area:

A woman on the trail (one of the steepest and shortest hikes I’ve ever done, by the by) asked us where this neighborhood was and I still don’t know. 

A woman on the trail (one of the steepest and shortest hikes I’ve ever done, by the by) asked us where this neighborhood was and I still don’t know. 

taken on Friday night at my school’s writer’s studio. the rain produces a kind of wet glow of the plants. i love it. the rain seems to have stopped.

taken on Friday night at my school’s writer’s studio. the rain produces a kind of wet glow of the plants. i love it. the rain seems to have stopped.

to fit

(I found this in my journal: it’s writing about a phrase I’m exploring: to fit.)

My culture tries and sees how much excess it can make, how much waste it can produce. My culture, nationally, is one that isn’t attempting to fit.

Not fitting is having a room in your house you never enter.

To fit is to know your neighbor’s names. To know what time the store within walking distance closes. To fit is to give as much as you’ve been given. To teach some of what you’ve been taught.

To fit is to look at the things around you for what they are. Naming things for what they are.

To fit is to work hard and know who you’re working for, to know why you’re doing it, to have your work be valued. To have work, to feel your work is worth something.

We’re becoming a nation that doesn’t fit, city by city. People can feel it. People are beginning to wonder why their work isn’t enough to feed themselves, beginning to wonder where their work fits. Where does a person’s work fit? How does it help? Who does it help?

What do we buy and who does it help? Beginning to see, driving is buying. Taking the bus is a different kind. And taking the BART is a different kind too.

Someone wrote on facebook, “BART needs to have more parking spaces!” No, BART or some re-imagined transit system needs to exist so that stations don’t need parking spaces. Parking spaces at stations are paradoxical. Carless people have to have a way to get to the transbay trains, and they need to be able to afford it. 

To me a statement like that is similar to saying “Hey! We need a piece of gum to plug up the hole in the ship!”

This week I’ve been a little stopped up with writing about trains. I wrote a 10-page paper about the Great Transportation Conspiracy, using it to highlight how awful public transit is in the Bay Area (and why it is that way). (For the general gist of the conspiracy, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy.) PLEASE NOTE that the word “conspiracy” here does not connote conspiracy theory, but that it was a conspiracy act by GM and other car-related companies to invest in internal combustion engine vehicles and basically convert transit to using these vehicles instead of streetcars, to create a monopoly for themselves.
I have a lot of images and a lot of resources, and I’ve been reading a ton about the streetcars and Key System and BART history in the Bay. Really, I should feel like I’m in the perfect place to start writing. I just for some reason don’t feel like I have enough time or can’t just lie around and let it come out of me for a few hours. It’s stupid and I want to come back to it. Sometimes it feels so big that I can’t see around it, or a way through it.
I also had an inspiring bike ride through West Oakland on Halloween to get to a class meeting. I realized I haven’t really spent any time in true West Oakland, the tip of it near the ports. It’s truly a different place than the “West Oakland” I used to live in at 32nd and West Street. It felt Southern for some reason, or what I’d picture the South to look like. The ride down was on Mandela Parkway, a very industrial area, and it smelled like trash. I crossed several train tracks, probably freight tracks, as lots of freight trains drop off goods at the Port, yes, the Port that thousands of people shut down on Wednesday. (Since I was writing my paper all day I went down a bit later, hanging out in the plaza and seeing the camps a few hours before they were raided for the second time by the police).
Even though I didn’t necessarily participate in the general strike perse, I feel as though I am participating in my own way, through the act of researching and writing a thesis on how, basically, the removal of a decent transportation system fucked us all over. We’ve become so dependent on car travel that we’re at the mercy of gas and car companies, as we all know, but it’s one thing to “know” it and to find out how it really happened, through newspaper articles, through looking at the evidence of the streetcars around the city. 
My ten-page paper argues that although it was far from perfect, there has been no good equivalent replacement to the Key System’s transbay and street-level service.

This week I’ve been a little stopped up with writing about trains. I wrote a 10-page paper about the Great Transportation Conspiracy, using it to highlight how awful public transit is in the Bay Area (and why it is that way). (For the general gist of the conspiracy, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy.) PLEASE NOTE that the word “conspiracy” here does not connote conspiracy theory, but that it was a conspiracy act by GM and other car-related companies to invest in internal combustion engine vehicles and basically convert transit to using these vehicles instead of streetcars, to create a monopoly for themselves.

I have a lot of images and a lot of resources, and I’ve been reading a ton about the streetcars and Key System and BART history in the Bay. Really, I should feel like I’m in the perfect place to start writing. I just for some reason don’t feel like I have enough time or can’t just lie around and let it come out of me for a few hours. It’s stupid and I want to come back to it. Sometimes it feels so big that I can’t see around it, or a way through it.

I also had an inspiring bike ride through West Oakland on Halloween to get to a class meeting. I realized I haven’t really spent any time in true West Oakland, the tip of it near the ports. It’s truly a different place than the “West Oakland” I used to live in at 32nd and West Street. It felt Southern for some reason, or what I’d picture the South to look like. The ride down was on Mandela Parkway, a very industrial area, and it smelled like trash. I crossed several train tracks, probably freight tracks, as lots of freight trains drop off goods at the Port, yes, the Port that thousands of people shut down on Wednesday. (Since I was writing my paper all day I went down a bit later, hanging out in the plaza and seeing the camps a few hours before they were raided for the second time by the police).

Even though I didn’t necessarily participate in the general strike perse, I feel as though I am participating in my own way, through the act of researching and writing a thesis on how, basically, the removal of a decent transportation system fucked us all over. We’ve become so dependent on car travel that we’re at the mercy of gas and car companies, as we all know, but it’s one thing to “know” it and to find out how it really happened, through newspaper articles, through looking at the evidence of the streetcars around the city. 

My ten-page paper argues that although it was far from perfect, there has been no good equivalent replacement to the Key System’s transbay and street-level service.

I’ve been missing winter lately. It’s my main critique of the Bay Area: there is little change in season. In some ways, I can look around me and see the rich, fertile art world going on, all of it at my fingertips and I love it and appreciate it and am growing around it in ways I didn’t in New York, but then sometimes my heart goes back to the cold, bitter New York world where people do like each other and are curious but in a seemingly hardened, closed-in way. It easily comes down. I miss the rigor and harshness of that city. Of the hard realities, the black and white.

This is stupid—but I was folding clothes today, and truly missing the feeling of the windows being closed, and the air being cold and clear outside. I missed the feeling of a static warmth inside my home, with the bodies around me inside the home. The boundary that the cold creates, the darkness that the cold creates. The lightened skin and hiding. When Christmastime comes, it’s going to get worse. I’m going to want this feeling and it won’t be there.