Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dear Nathaniel Ford - A New Year?

Dear Nathaniel,
I've been such an unfaithful correspondent lately, but I don't want you to believe that it's not because I don't think of you often. In fact, I find myself invoking your name frequently; it's similar to how I invoke Jesus, with a sense of frustration and futility, but with a tiny glimmer of hope that perhaps I'll be heard.

Did you hear me on Friday evening, Nathaniel? It was such a beautiful night with the moon illuminating the balmy streets, filling the hopeful hearts of San Franciscans. We couldn't wait to get home, shed the quotidian cares of the week, and get our parties started. But we had to.

Entering Montgomery Street station at 6:30, I found little space on the platform and, while inbound trains abounded, outbound trains were not in sight. A helpful announcement crackled over the platform, and those who can make out messages challenged by poor P.A. systems, a thick accent, and the howls of angry commuters may have made out more than, "problem with outbound..." That's all I needed to hear.

I ascended the stairs and hopped on the F, making my 7 mile per hour way home. During that ride, I invoked both you and Jesus. I even gave you the same middle name.

Nathaniel, dysfunction is endemic in your system. Where is the pride? How hard is this? New Yorkers, whose system is geometrically larger and more complex than ours, accepted poor service in the midst of a giant blizzard. Here ins San Francisco, we're asked to accept abysmal service in the following conditions:

  • Rain
  • Heat
  • Wind
  • Baseball season
  • Fridays
  • Holidays
  • Evenings
  • Mornings

It's a shame that commuters don't commute on pleasant Tuesday afternoons during basketball season and stay home the rest of the time.

I understand that you're soon to be fully vested in our city's astonishingly generous pension plan. It's been five years Nathaniel and you'll now enjoy a lifetime of salary, health insurance and even free rides on Muni. It seems like this has been your primary goal for these five long years. Isn't it time to let someone else give it a go?

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