I’m trying to get to the east bay. In run-down SF I borrow my mom’s old white Honda. I find it in a parking lot parked behind another car. I have to explain to the parking attendant that I didn’t know we couldn’t park there. (Those spaces reserved for someone else.)
I promise that next time, I will park upstairs. Now that I know. I get in the car, which is new to me. The dashboard is covered in rubber. The seats are covered too, in cloth. I picture my mom caring for this used car. Wrapping up its cracks. Driving from the lot, I understand I’ve underestimated the time. I thought it was plentiful but it was based on having my own car, my usual routine.
I decide it would be faster to ride a bike. I get on it and start towards the bay bridge. I am biking as fast as I can. I am smoking, too. I realize this when i see a tower of ash on a cigarette in my hand on the handlebars. I take a deep drag of its nastiness. In the same moment- this is under an overpass, like on Division by Bryant – I realize there’s no way to bike across the bridge.
Now I am trying to figure out the nearest BART station. I’m depressed. I realize when I get there, to the other side of the bay, I’ll have so far still to go on the bike. It’s impossible. I’m impossibly late. I pull over on the bike, still smoking that nasty stick, a disappointment, to study a map.