Some mornings I wake up and hear the traffic reports and just know it will be better to walk, work from home or call in sick. Today that is not an option, as I have dinner plans in Japantown. But my gut feelings play out as MuniTracker tells me there are 18-minute gaps between J-line streetcars. Usually it’s more like eight minutes at my six AM starting time. The TV news has live coverage of a blazing restaurant fire in West Portal, a gateway from the Outside Lands to downtown. It has halted service on the K, L and M lines. And as I finally leave the subway at Embarcadero, I hear a Jeep Cherokee has flipped on the Fremont Street off tamp, snarling traffic coming off the Bay Bridge.
But I am on foot, ambling down Fremont Street with my SpiceKit steamed pork bun (Kurobuta pork belly, pickled cucumbers, scallions and hoisin sauce), a cuppa Peet’s and a three- berry muffin. I come to the intersection at Mission, where an extended-length transit bus seems to be struggling to get into gear. I then see on the pavement a cover plate and humongous spline joint that clearly was once attached to the bus’s drive shaft. I go up and knock on the driver’s window and lead him outside to the back of the bus. He grumbles something about mechanics and opens the engine door. I put my coffee and food bag atop a nearby newspaper rack and take a picture. As I gather my things and walk away, I see the driver has taken out his phone and is taking a picture too.