The Machinery of Everyday Life?

First let me just urge you to enjoy yourself by going to Tom Flocco and reading his lovely press release.

But I wanted to post a quickie… I had a couple of great moments in modernity over the weekend that I forgot to mention in the last post. First I was bicycling down Folsom and looked at a blonde woman in her car going the other way at a stoplight. She was kissing her cellphone, I mean REALLY kissing it! I suppose she was sending some lucky someone her big fat lips, but really!… Is that romantic? Ouch!

Then I was at that nightmarish warehouse we know as Costco and standing in line with my two bottles of gin and suddenly everything stopped. The system crashed and all the checkout lines stopped. If you’ve ever been at any big box store, esp. on a weekend afternoon, imagine the curiously quiet and empty feeling as everyone stops. The line isn’t moving. The clerks are calling out to managers. They can’t sell the goods unless the scanners and cash registers are working and they’re all dependent on some master computer (ha ha). Managers are frantically phoning. No one is buying! (Can those of us who’ve been waiting in line just please take our things and go home? We’ve already paid with our time, after all!) I turned to the middle class white guy behind me (most of the San Francisco shoppers are Asian and Latinos, and mostly not first-language English speakers, so that was already anomalous) and mentioned how easy it is for the whole civilization to just suddenly grind to a halt, to which he merely grimaced. It felt cinematic. I was thrilled, grinning like an idiot. Two minutes later, sigh, it all started up again.

Tonight there was a community meeting to discuss how to calm and humanize Cesar Chavez Street. I was thrilled to find out that the other attendees were ready to get a lot more seriously radical than I would have imagined. In about 10 minutes of brainstorming, people of all ages called for taking back the streets, digging up the pavement and putting in green spaces, daylighting the creek, planting grapes to honor Cesar Chavez, and generally to completely alter our sense of San Francisco’s landscape… now that’s taking the machinery by the throat!

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