Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cable Car Confessions: Dental Work

Ding ding all aboard. "Next stop Powell Street Chinatown. Tickets please show me your tickets please." These sounds are very familiar to San Francisco tourists and locals. What is the one thing that you have to do when you come and visit San Francisco? Ride the cable car. What we don't hear about are the stories from the cable car conductors. I can't imagine what they see and hear everyday. Their job is to ride in the fog, sun, rain, and in traffic jams. Here is one of their stories.

At around 6:00pm, I was riding the cable car back from work. The sun was starting to set and there was a new chill in the air. The chill makes me want to fold my arms across my chest for warmth. Whenever I feel this chill, I want to button up my jacket and put a scarf around my neck. And because of the chill in the air, I sat inside the cable car with the doors closed.

Sam, the cable car driver, came inside to get tickets from the new riders. He saw me and told me he liked my scarf. I smiled. (This was one of about 30 scarves I own. My motto: Continue to be stylish even when freezing. Don’t you agree?) On this night, the cable car wasn’t very crowded probably due to the weather. So, Sam sat down next to me and told me about a woman who had been riding on his cable car last week.

Sam’s story went like this. A woman, in her early twenties, got onto the cable car on her way back from an appointment. Sam tried chatting with her, but she wouldn’t smile back or talk to him.

“Listen, it can’t be that bad?” stated Sam.

The woman looked at him and tried to smile with her eyes, but still didn’t say a word.

Sam tried again,” OK I bet you my life is worse then yours. My wife just left me, I work until 2:00 am today, my feet are killing me and my paycheck is missing.”

All of sudden the woman starting laughing out loud, but held the left side of her mouth and drooled a little.

“You win," said the young woman. "Your life is worse then mine, but the only reason why I'm not talking is because I just had some dental work done and the left side of my face is numb.”

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