ssssssssssssssssSteam Heat!

for the next two-and-a-half weeks, i have to get myself to work via public transportation (because my darling friend, RiseyP, who usually drives me will be on a fantabulous vacation in japan!).

but this means i have to take the bus (Muni) to the subway (BART) to the shuttle that takes me to my office park.

and THAT, therefore, makes THREE different ways, every morning AND every evening, that i can totally fuck up getting to and from work.

add having to get to the gym before-hand (which i will attempt tomorrow), which will necessitate a FOURTH leg of public transportation, and it's entirely possible you will never see me again. because i am not a savvy public transportation taker.

"hey, where'd kristy go?"

"you know, i have no idea. last i saw her she was getting on the F Market."

"the F Market? but that's nowhere near her apartment OR office..."

and plus public transportation lies. like, just because you are called the 1 California does NOT guarantee that you actually travel on California street. i mean, sure. some of the time you do, but some of the time you don't. and when and why this happens is never clear. (remember this situation?) (scroll down to see it because of weird formatting).

and also? just because you travel on one street in one direction does not mean you will travel on the same street when you're going in the opposite direction.

and ohmygod, please do not even get me started on how you're supposed to know which escalator to take up OR down when travelling underground.

ex: i get off the subway at an underground stop. i need to go up to "Market Street." i look to my right and there is a sign that says, "TO MARKET STREET" and that sign is in front of stairs and so i figure i am going the right way. but then as i head to those stairs, i happen to notice ANOTHER sign, waaaaaaay over in THAT direction, that says, "TO MARKET STREET" and it is ALSO in front of a stairwell.

now i don't know what sort of super humans just KNOW which "TO MARKET STREET" stairs they should take, but i am no such creature. i will think, long and hard about what side of the street i am on (and please. i do not EVER know east or west or north or south; i know "this" side, which means the one i'm on and "that" side, which means the side i am not on but probably need to be). and i will decide and take those stairs and be wrong.

anyway. so without any more exaggeration, here is the hardest part about my commute:

i have absolutely no idea where the Civic Center BART station is.

but kristy, you wonder, surely you have been there before on the other mornings you used public transit to commute. what do you mean you don't know where it is?

well, what i mean is that despite exiting from it on several evenings and even finding my way to it on several mornings including this morning, i really, genuinely have no idea where it is.

i just don't conceptually GET where the station is located. see, it's at this part of the city where like, 900 streets converge and there are all these alleys and statues and diagonal streets and a farmer's market and big buildings.

so from where the buses (any of three lines that i can get on from my apartment) drops me off nearish to the station, i have to figure out how to go from the bus stop to the BART station. and because you can go any of about forty hundred ways to get from BUS STOP A to BART STATION B, i never really know if i'm going the right way. i just basically meander in the direction of "left."

but i do so at a very good clip, because even though i am clueless i am also from the new york area and thus MUST walk as though of COURSE i know where i'm going and don't get in my way because i am very busy and important and sureashell know where the BART station is, duh.

and so sure enough, this morning's adventure left me wandering (faux assuredly) "left" through the farmer's market. and i was completely convinced i was going in the wrongest direction possible because nothing looked familiar -- as, for example, i'd never walked through the farmer's market before (and also? is it a farmer's market if you're selling heating pads and magic scarves? doesn't that just make it a flea market? god, i don't understand anything).

but then i saw a CLUE!

all of a sudden, there was a mass of people walking past me with briefcases and the same sense of assuredness i had (except theirs probably wasn't faked), so i figured a-ha! they must have all just ascended from the BART station! i must be going in the right direction!

you know, like being stranded at sea and suddenly spotting seagulls and realizing you must be getting close to shore.

and lo! there it was. the BA sign. in a place i would have sworn to you was totally NOT the same place i've ever seen it before. but whatever. i got to work on time.

but now that this entry has taken all of my lunch hour, i cannot get into why i titled this post as i did. except i will tell you that i was rather shocked this morning when, on my way out the door, i grabbed my coat and it was all wet.

so was my TV.

so was my entire entertainment unit.


and i didn't have time to dry it off because i couldn't miss the last shuttle (see how these things are now related?).

but i really had to wonder what on god's green earth had happened in the corner of my livingroom since as far as i could recall, there had not been a thunderstorm in my apartment the night before.

in fact, to my knowledge there has never been so much as a sunshower inside my apartment.

and that is probably because my apartment is, you know, INSIDE.

so i looked up. and no, nothing was coming from the ceiling. no water damaged ceiling or walls.

and then i saw that my heater was not just hissing its usual heat-hiss, but it was actually blowing out steam. and must have been doing so for quite a long time. and apparently The Entire Realm of Science has heard me talking about it because it conspired against me to form an entirely unnecessary demonstration of Water's Various Properties, from evaporation to condensation to precipitation ALL OVER MY LIVING ROOM.

all i could do in the time i had before dashing out the door was turn off the heat, turn off the surge protector/outlet, and hang my soaked netflix envelopes in the bathroom to dry.

did i mention i got to work on time?


  1. When are you going to tell us how your big event went at work?!

  2. Our mothers would say that this is SUCH a Kiki story. And they'd be wonderfully right. :)

    Ahhhh... You make me smile.

    Thinkin' of you.

  3. you made it to work? on public transit? by yourself????

    i'm so proud.

    now would you please buy a transit map. $2 well spent!

    -el snarkster

  4. This is SUCH a Kiki story. :)
    Love it and you!

  5. Thank you Kristi! For reminding me WHY I dont live in SF or any other large city with gobs of public transportation....I would get lost daily. Maybe you could leave a trail of bread crumbs....oh wait....that didnt seem to work for....oh never mind....have a nice weekend!

    Your IIF in Fresno

  6. Oh sh*t...I just spelled your name wrong....K-R-I-S-T-Y


  7. Um...and don't forget about on Market St., trying to figure out if the bus you want stops at the island or the curb while dodging rush hour traffic. Sounds like you can skip the gym for a few weeks with that work-out. The stress alone should peel off a pound or two.

  8. the last time i was in SF i was driving and got lost a total of 17 million times in two days. i couldn't even imagine trying to do it all on public transportation. i'm a small town girl i guess, although my dream really is to move the two hours north to SF for just a little while. anyway, sorry about the tangent. got me laughing again as usual.

  9. ericha2@comcast.net8:16 PM, November 03, 2005


    word of advice from a veteran muni/bart rider. stick to the large streets if you can. like van ness or market. it's easier to find your way on market if you remember the numbered streets are on the south side and the named streets on the north.

    A good landmark for the Civic Center station is the Orpheum Theater. There is an entrance to the station right out front.

    Good luck!

  10. You know, not sure where you live relative to them, but I can think of about half a dozen folks at the office who live in the city and drive in. Maybe you could bribe one of them with chocolates or something to let you ride with them for a couple of weeks?

    On the heater thing...I had a similar thing with my dryer. Was teh suck. Watch out for the moldies!

  11. glad you made it to work without getting lost... have a great weekend!

  12. you know, the best way to find your way around town is to get lost... you know? that's how i figured it all out when i first moved here.

    then again, i'm lucky i only have to take one bus to get to work!

  13. OK, this is meant humorously and not in any way meanly. I'm going to try a little word association here: MAP...INTERNET...
    ...INFORMATION BOOTH did I say map?
    Oh never mind. Sorry to hear you had a thunderstorm in your apartment. Congrats on navigating BART, etc... liek NY only more so

  14. don't forget amp lee!

  15. i caught a ever-so-rare-kristy-typo. i have a hard time typing "because" too. it always comes up "becasue".

    congratualtions on getting to work.

  16. You go to the gym BEFORE work? That's even more amazing than not being able to find the Civic Center BART.

  17. Science is our friend. I am truly impressed with getting to work on time. Living north of Seattle and having only a single transfer to make to get to work, I still only hit it on time about 3/4 of the time.

  18. Kristy, you absolutely make my day!

    I love the whole trying to figure out mass transit thing, coupled with living room transformed into a rain forest bit. I know that if I need to smile, all I have to do is dial into Kristy's blog.

    Best of luck with the buses and BART for the next week or so!

  19. I have this gem of the internets bookmarked on my compy at home and at work (it's zoomable -- v. cool):
    Of course, for finding out when the bus cometh (once you figure out which line you want from the map) either by schedule or stop-to-stop planning:

    In fact, I have a whole folder of bookmarks related to getting from here to there on SF public transit. I'm cool that way...

    I completely relate to the frenzied feeling of making the last shuttle to work. I have my N-Judah to CalTrain to shuttle routing down pretty well (and add about 100-years of transit time for getting to San Hoser). Watch out for the creepies and crackheads over by Civic Center, though!

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  22. Oh crap! I came off sounding condescending, tried to fix it, made it worse so never mind. It's that time again...cheers!

  23. Ok, hi let me try this one more time...what I was trying to say is that you guys who live in the City but work down South and haven't got a chance or desire to...yet, really should try some of the bus routes if for no other reason, just the experience. I've been here almost 20 yrs and I still ride some of these lines just for the entertainment. K and Ish - you could get so much material for either your blog or for stand up. The 22 line is full of people who would have no reason to interact at any other time. From the Marina, thru the Fillmore, Hayes Valley, Lower Haight, Castro, Mission, Potrero Hill to Hunter's Point (probably a good idea to get off before HP). Yuppies to junkies to kids with boom boxes, bag ladies and drag queens. Oh, and the Tourettes Syndrome folk,(my favorite disorder). Then there's the 33 that goes from Potrero, Mission, Castro and then Upper Market with some of the greatest views of the Bay Bridge and East Bay and down Haight Street and to the Presidio. There's also this 76 that only runs on Sundays and Holidays and you can catch it by the ball park, or close to your apt. on Geary and Van Ness...then down Lombard and over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands. The views are unbelievable as it winds around the edge of the ocean. Then it stops right in front of the public bathrooms at the beach and sits for about 10 minutes and comes back. So you can hang out for an hour for the next one or just get back on. All for $1.50. Better than a $40 tour I took in Belize plus the bonus of the "eccentric SF Characters" who ride it religously alone or with their little Shitzu type dogs and talk to themselves. (let's not get into why I know this). Ok, have a great weekend!

  24. Hahaha…oh public transportation. I can also be somewhat directionally challenged, so I sympathize. That rain shower in your living room is just bizarre. Science must really have it in for you. Maybe you should start some sort of peace talks or something with science and the math before it gets out of hand, you know.

  25. Getting from the 15 to Montgomery is another nightmare waiting to happen. And I love maps.

    Now I bike along Market street from Van Ness to the Ferry building. I would think that you could always reconnoiter based on where city hall is. There are no buildings between city hall and the civic center stop. Just people who haven't figured out the public bathrooms are free.

    Although I would think "Heater exploded" is a valid reason to not go to work. Or to work from home. At least that's the away message I'd use on my IM for the next few days.

  26. I am so amazed at you! Not only can you do stand up but you can get to work on time, especially when it seems that everything is stacked against you.
    I sincerely hope the water leak doesn't make your apartment fall apart. If so, just make sure you have lots of boxed wine and straws on hand. It makes it so much easier to bear.

    good luck :-)

  27. Every day, when I come up the escalator on BART, and see the giant sign that says that it won the award for the best transit system in America, I think, "We are doomed."

  28. I'm directionally impaired too. Fortunately I fly a lot of places and then I take a cab to wherever it is. Most of the time the cab driver can get me there if I give him the address. Emphasis on MOST of the time.

    When I used to have to drive to a lot of my sales calls I'd call a business next to them, like a Pizza Hut, to get the directions over and over again every time I went so that my customer didn't think I was completely and totally incompetent.

  29. LOL/OMG, on so many levels...

    So what I think this all means is that you should probably never go to Tokyo. Taxis there are as expensive as kobe beef witha side order of fugu (pufferfish sushi with the poison taken out; for some reason the russian-roulette-ness of it adds to the high price) and it's WAY too huge of a city to try and walk your way around (NYC, on the other hand, can be walked, if worse comes to worse.)

    Therefore, getting from place to place in Tokyo is all about figuring out the subway system *and* the Japan Rail system (sometimes underground, sometimes not) which are two separate, competing public transportation providers. Which of course use different signage and colors and symbols to display their routes and timetables, and have ticket vending machines with different UIs.

    To make matters worse -- and I'm sure you will find this highly shocking -- most of the signs are not in English. Thank god, *just* enough English was provided for this semi-directionally-challenged girl and her brilliant engineer of a bf to barely figure it out, and then just lock it into our respective short-term memories.

    So anyway, this is probably not the way K would prefer to spend her vacation, is all I'm sayin!! ;-)


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