Wednesday, July 1, 2009

San Francisco

Yesterday was amazing. Okay, so I grew up living in San Francisco, and never felt the need for a driver's license, considering how I could use public transportation to get where I needed in the city. When I went to college in Troy, NY, well, let's just say that the public transportation there is not dependable. You want examples? Fine.

When my friends and I went to see Iron Man last year, we decided to take public transportation to get from RPI to the Latham Crossgates Mall. When we looked at the bus schedule, we saw there was one that would leave at 10:10 AM and every 55 minutes. We thought, "Okay, we can catch the 10:10 bus and get to the mall around 11:20 AM, so that we can have some lunch, see the movie, and get back to Troy well before 5 PM, so that I could get to the one comic store in Troy before it closed, so I could get my free comic books for Free Comic Book Day. Well, we got to the bus stop before 10 AM, and then left the busstop around 11:05 AM, when the bus that was after the one we wanted took off. We eventually got to the mall, and were able to see Iron Man, have my friend buy a video game he wanted (after way too much hassle at Best Buy where he couldn't and it ended up being stupid, so we had to at GameStop or EB Games, I can't remember which), then headed back to take a bus back to Troy. We were ready to go at around 3:00, and got to the busstop at the mall, and at around 1 hour later, a bus came and we were able to get back to Troy. I was able to get my comics, although I got there 5 minutes late. The people at Aquilonia were nice enough to let me in and get what free comics I wanted, although the All Star Superman was gone, and it was basically just the things people weren't quite as interested in.

So, aside from running only every hour, which is a long time in between buses, they didn't even run that often, and ended up running every 2 hours or so. If we had a car at that point, it would have taken 20-30 minutes max to get to the mall. Instead it took us a couple hours in each direction, including the waiting. So, while there is public transporation in the Albany area, basically, it sucks horribly.

Yesterday was my first day off in 6 days, so I could have a break before having to go to work for 4 more days straight. I had gotten my first paycheck, but hadn't been able to deposit it, considering that the bank I go to has two branches in San Francisco, one downtown, and one on the other side of Golden Gate Park, about 20 blocks from where I live. Neither one would be possible to get to before, during or after work, so I had to go yesterday, or wait until next Saturday, which would be the next non-Sunday I have off, which would also mean I'd be depositing two checks, as my next one would be there. I also wanted to get Magic: The Gathering cards, commons, for the '07 Pauper tournament that was later that day. Basically, the Ravnica and Time Spiral blocks, along with 10th edition and Coldsnap were legal for play, but only the commons from those sets. I had designed a deck that I needed a few more cards for. I then needed to get to Gamescape, where I would play against friends, and then be in the tournament. So, I took the 44 from near my house through Golden Gate Park to 9th and Lincoln. From there, I was able to catch the 71 and take it down to 23rd and Irving, walk to 24th and Irving to deposit my check, then walk back to 22nd and Irving to catch the 71 going the other direction to 19th and Lincoln. From there, the 28 took me through the park to Park Presidio and Geary, where I took the 38 to 17th and Geary so I could get to Cards and Comics Central, in between 18th and 19th on Geary. I bought the commons I needed, then went down to 19th and California, where I took the 1 down to Divisadero, where I walked to the Cheesesteak shop to get some steak fries. From there, I took the 24 to Oak, where I walked half a block to Gamescape. Total amount of time taken, including the stopping for depositing, buying cards, buying steak fries, walking to and from stops and waiting around for the bus to show up? Under 2 hours. Sure, it took me a couple hours to get from my first destination to my last, but I had three separate stops that were not near each other, and I had to pick up a bus 7 times. Still, I was easily able to make it to my destination in under the amount of time it took me to get from one point in Troy to one point in Latham from one bus that would normally be well under 20 minutes in a car. The public transportation system in this city is amazing, and I love living here in San Francisco. If I want to get from Point A to Point B, it is amazingly simple, and easy, and even if it takes multiple buses, I should get there fairly quickly.

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