The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

The Big Brain


This morning, chauffeur duty. Schedules worked out perfectly to drop off one after the other. Caleb cried as we pulled up to daycare because today his mother was walking him to the door. Yet he walked in without looking back. A little crying, a little guilt for the road.

We headed to Oakland waving to the crossing guard I pass every morning. I call Oakland the big brain. I hope all those students are appreciating their opportunities and taking advantage of it all. Of course, they’re not. They are thinking they have time to waste. My father-in-law used to say about land, “You can never go wrong buying it because they’re not making any more.” It’s in limited supply. So is your time. Those students just don’t acknowledge that yet. Not to say all. There are the dedicated and the dilettantes.

Students and professors surround us as we navigate the streets. I am cautious scanning the terrain for students crossing under the assumption every driver is watching out for them. You know that saying about assume. I never forget in Spain we were warned that pedestrians do not have the right-of-way. Fair game. Hardly seems fair a human body against a veritable tank in comparison. But here and on the city streets, I am always on the lookout for the person walking in front of me, the person walking along the road at dusk or night in dark clothing and the biker riding at midnight with a small blinking light. I really should walk or ride the buses to escape my nightmare of hitting someone with my car. But then there was the bus that struck a pedestrian at the Waterfront. There is the bus coming at me against traffic on the one-way section of Fifth Avenue in Oakland with a fear he will veer just slightly in my direction. But on the bus, I least I’m not in the driver’s seat.


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