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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marina Girls in a Marina World

The bus comes rolling to a halt on the corner of Chestnut and Laguna. Today I’m in the Marina, catching the 30X, for a reason that is much too long and agonizing to explain via blog post. (Sorry.)

On each of my shoulders is a vinyl bag stuffed with t-shirts, jeans, a hairdryer, a hair straightener, make-up, shampoo, books, and doodads to entertain myself with while I’m staying at Jenn’s (such as a battery-powered “twenty questions” game). In addition to beeping gadgets and bursting suitcases, I’m lugging an extra-large Nordstrom shopping bag, because I decided to (ignore my New Year’s resolution and) go shopping two nights ago. It didn’t dawn on me that I’d have to haul my goods around with me for the rest of my life. (Again, I can’t give details via blog post.) (Just go with it.)

There’s no doubt the plush sweaters and belts and scarves and shiny necklaces are well worth every penny, but at this point I’m not sure they’re worth carting around for a week straight. (You know how when some people have bad days, they eat? Well, when have bad days, I charge boots and bags by way of Capital One.) (If you’re wondering, I feel much better today.)

Anyway, I don’t quite blend in on the 30X, the Marina Express. After a graceless entrance involving my tripping over my bright red American Tourist suitcase and spilling the contents (read: "delicates") of my shiny silver Nordy’s bag across the dirty steps leading to the pay-fare station, the bus driver stands up to scold me for bringing too much “crap” with me. (If my situation is too unpleasant to explain via blog post, there’s no way I’m spilling it to the bus driver – and the 80 passengers crammed around me – so I burble an apology and gather my things and squeeze into a corner.)

After just a few minutes, I decide I pretty much hate everyone on the bus. I’ve never seen so many 20-something yuppies in my life, and that includes one awful night when Luxury Condo’s PR company threw a party and invited every social-climber in its urban professional circle, most of whom were still drunk or high from the night before.

As we whir through Ghirardelli Square and North Beach’s Little Italy, rows of blond heads tilt downward at BlackBerrys and iPhones. Shiny red fingernails flip piously through emails that can’t be as important as they seem. Coats are long and black and free of lint, scarves are in perfect knots around milky necks, and shiny gloss paints the lips of both the boys and the girls. They’re goody-goodies.

I’m a world away from them. Yes, my coat is long and black but it’s covered in fuzz. (Who separates their whites and darks anymore, anyway?) And yes, my fingernails are painted and shiny but in an offbeat grayish color. My bag is Longchamp, but it explodes with “crap” and isn’t perfectly fastened like the ones around me. And I’m reading a hardback – not emails. I look around, trying to spot another literate on the dense bus, and I finally notice someone with a book – a paperback, not a holy Kindle.

Thank, Gawd! Someone with a brain. I peep closer at the cover to see what the dude's reading. He’s not far into chapter one, but I don’t judge. (Hey, reading is reading.) I’m close to changing my mind about this whole crowd of three-piecers until I catch a glimpse of the book he’s perusing: “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.”

And then I pray my stop is next.


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  1. Hahah so well said. I have the blonde hair with red nails...but mine are chipped and I do read books everyday. I just started The Shack...so far so goo. Oh the Marina, I don't think it will ever change. It would be fun to see what "the Marina girls" looked like in the 80's...I bet it was the girls with the best perm and best decals on their fingernails.

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  2. The 30x isn't soooo bad, though I've definitely felt "linty" before too! The worst part about Marina buses though is that no one talks. NO ONE. So any noises (like a stumble!) and all heads turn; I feel your pain...

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  3. the implication that people who ride the 30x are stupid, or don't "have a brain" is pretty judgmental. most of those people work high level positions at places like Google, Waterhouse Price, Zynga, Apple, Ebay, and other major tech/financial/marketing institutions. that's incredibly impressive, and definitely nothing to sniff at. i'd say just keep things like that in mind before judging the "Marina" crowd. just like any group of people, there are some that can be annoying, and yes, they certainly play hard, but they work pretty damn hard too.

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  4. The Marina is where fraternity boys and sorority girls live in a cluster so they can reinforce their sense of privilege together. The younger ones go to Chestnut Street, the next older ones (yuppies) to Union St and they move up the hill to Pacific Heights as they get old. When "they" say those areas are "really nice", they mean that there is no cultural diversity and that everyone looks just like them with small sharp facial features and blonde or black hair. They have “business clubs” called which make sure that they only do business with each other and don’t mix races or non-frat-house people into business deals.

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