Saturday, July 22, 2006

Erika and Alan spare the air

When ground-level ozone in the Bay Area is projected to be very high, a Spare the Air Day is declared. All public transportation is free, and the hope is that erstwhile drivers will instead jump on a train, thereby lowering the smog levels.

Of course, these ozone days are connected to very hot days.

Fittingly, Alan and I decided to use our free BART train ride last night to go to a San Francisco theater and see Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Go see this movie; whatever your political bent, it conveys an important idea, that we are seriously, seriously effing up our planet. 

Drinking water which millions depend on is being dried up, animals’ symbiotic cycles are being screwed up, and most importantly major parts of Oakland will be underwater. Unacceptable! I do live on a hill, but I sometimes venture to the flatlands for my crack fix. 

Seriously, though, I’ve been concerned for a long time that we aren’t forward thinking. Nor are we backward-looking. Few of us think about repercussions, or study history for patterns. Part of our culture as Americans is just to enjoy now. And that’s great, that’s very zen of us, but we are just a tiny blip in our planet’s story – yet we have the power to type “The End.”

The great part about An Inconvenient Truth is that it talks about how revocable all this is, given that we jump on the problem. At, there’s a list of things each person can personally do to help out.

On a lighter note, when public transportation is free, it includes cable cars. Although it is a very touristy thing to do, riding cable cars is incredibly exhilarating and just makes you grin. Feeling the lurch of the cable beneath you as you surmount the steeps hills of San Francisco…. ah, it’s bliss. So we rode four times last night! We rode Embarcadero to the top of Powell, switched cars to go down Powell, transferred to go back up, and then switched again to ride back to Embarcadero. At each transfer, there was a cable car already waiting. 

We can’t figure out why our litigious society still allows the cable cars; you are literally holding on only with your clenched hands as SUVs and other cable cars whoosh by with only a hands-breadth between you and them. The girl next to me had to turn her backpack around so it was on her stomach because that’s how close you are to traffic.

When we switched at the bottom of Powell, the next cable car was already on the move, but I ran as fast as I could and jumped onto it, with Alan right at my heels. Unfortunately, no talent scouts were around to witness this and offer me a part in an action-packed summer movie.

Finally, we took BART back to Oakland, where ULEV (ultra low emission vehicle) Lewis Charles Honda III was waiting for us.

A special shout-out to CH. Hi old buddy!

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