Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cable Car Confessions: The Writer and Her Brussel Sprouts

Ding ding all aboard the cable car. "Next stop Powell Street Chinatown. Tickets please show me your tickets please." At the end of a work day, I carried my laptop so I could continue to work at home. San Francisco started to rain and I had forgotten my umbrella at the office. Shielding my laptop from the rain with my hands, I got onto the cable car and quickly found a seat in the closed-door cabin of the cable car, just in case the rain started to came down harder.

As I was settling in, a woman walked into the cabin and sat down. She sat a little too close to me as if she was trying to get my attention. I looked over at her and smiled. She was a petite African-American woman in her fifties. Not trying to get into a conversation, I continued to think about work and watched the rain slide down the glass of the cable car. This woman felt differently. She leaned over and said, "Aren't you curious about what this is?" She was pointing to her plant that was now sitting very close to me and I had never seen a brussel sprouts plant. I thanked her for showing me the plant as it fell on me. And it continued to do so for the rest of our ride.

We continued to chat, I kept thinking that the Farmer's Market lady’s words were extremely colorful. She would look outside to the street and would tell me that the ‘trees were painted in lights.’ Or pint out that the ‘rain was falling like dancers on a stage.’ She then jumped topics to tell me her opinions about children. She felt that children today have no idea where their food comes from. That they think vegetables are grown in supermarkets. She told me when she was a little girl, she remembered the first time she picked berries for her mother to make a family berry pie.

Now I was wondering what encouraged this lady to open up to me in such a way. She was bubbling over with her opinions. Our cable car driver walked through the car to get out of the rain. The lady asked him if he would like a brussel sprout. At first the cable car driver wasn't sure what she was saying, then showed him her prized plant. He smiled and told her maybe he would have one next time.

She change topics and started talking about her concerns that San Francisco was soon going to go into a drought. This felt like a strange statement to be made, as the rain was coming down harder and harder. She said me "that California would deserve the drought as we don't conserve water enough." Then she quickly changed topics again and talked about McDonald's hamburgers. She recently ate there (woman in her fifties) for the first time and it tasted horrible and nothing like meat.

My stop was next and I thanked her for our talk. She gave me her business card and I smiled when I read that she was a writer. I thought to myself, 'I am glad she's is a writer, as she had a lot to say.' She told me that I could buy her books and give them to children for presents. 

San Francisco and its characters. Sometimes you just have to open up to them to learn. When was the last time that you met a person that seemed like a character out of a novel? When was the last time you traveled on a cable car?


Bella said...

You have such a great blog, I adore your posts!

And thank you for such a lovely comment... those JC heels are actually insaney comfortable.
I could probably sleep in them!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

A fellow Bay Area blogger? What?!? Hooray! I was beginning to fear that people like you didn't exist.

A couple of questions for you:

1) Is that a photo of your actual stove? If it is, you just became my new cyber BFF.
2) Do you travel as part of your job? Your tales from your various trips in Europe are fabulous.

As for your cable car confessions, um, yeah, I meet people like that almost everyday of my life. I am not sure why. Like you, I am fairly extroverted. However, I don't really like to engage people I know I won't see again.

Alas, the Bay Area is brimming with characters like this, isn't it?


Fancy Schmancy said...

I don't have the opportunity to meet people the way you do. I'm pretty well insulated, which is probably a good thing as I'm absolutely no good at small talk!

p.s. I love brussel sprouts, and the plants are amazing to look at!

Laura said...

3 Bay B Chicks

1) Is that a photo of your actual stove? If it is, you just became my new cyber BFF. (Can we still be friends if I tell you that that's my dream kitchen?)

2) Do you travel as part of your job? Your tales from your various trips in Europe are fabulous. (I have traveled all on my own. I wish my job would send me. :))

So glad to find you!

Laura said...

Fancy I will keep writing and thinking of you. It's amazing how we can dismiss people so quickly. If I had, I wouldn't have found out that she's a children's book writer.

Pink Peony said...

I love when you met people like that. I have a regular that comes in and tells such amazing stories of his life. Maybe I will share them :)