Just As I Thought

Old Job Week

Greetings from rainy, overcast San Diego!
I wrote a really long blog post yesterday, using my iPhone. But Wi-FI here is intermittent and flaky at best, and my iPhone fluctuated between useless wifi and slow EDGE, and when it did the blog dropped the connection and lost the post that I’d painstakingly tapped out on the screen keyboard. Ah, well. I’m sure it was much more interesting than this recreation.
So, I’m in San Diego with the organization I used for work for back in D.C., taking the place of a few staff members who couldn’t make it. So far it is going better than it did the previous 12 years I did it; probably because I have such little responsibility this year that I am insulated from everything that might be going wrong. For years I was involved in most aspects of the conference, this time as an emeritus staff member I’m just manning the booth and answering questions. Still, my feet are killing me.
Here in San Diego, the convention center and convention hotels are located along the bay, separated from the rest of the city and the Gaslamp District tourist area by Harbor Drive, a main drag. Oh, and by train tracks.
Most of the time this is not an issue. The trolley rolls through every 15 minutes or so and blocks the streets — but not the pedestrians — for 30 seconds. But every day at about 6:15pm, just when the conference is done for the day and 4,000 people are trying to cross the road to go to dinner in the touristy areas, a huge freight train chugs into view. All the gates close for about a mile cutting off vehicle and pedestrians. The train slowly makes it way north, and then stops. It then hesitantly backs up slowly, just a bit, then stops. Then just as hesitantly, moves forward. It repeats this over and over, until finally after 15 minutes some of the pedestrians lose patience and stupidly begin to cross the tracks, climbing between the cars. The train jerks violently as it begins moving again, and the morons hang on then jump off. It was a real concern among those in the crowd that we’d be seeing someone crushed by tons of steel that evening.
This happens every evening. I don’t know what city planning genius decided to separate one tourist hub from another with a freight line; even more puzzling is why there is no underpass or pedestrian bridge to cross the tracks.
Back to San Jose tomorrow afternoon, and I’m hoping that the return trip is as peaceful and easy as the flight down here: on a small commuter jet with 10 other people, stressless and relatively comfortable, cheap and fast. Now that I know I can zip down to LA or San Diego quickly and cheaply, I might do it sometime for the weekend.

1 comment

  • I know the EXACT intersection you’re talking about in SD — truly ridiculous! It’s been that way for a long time, even during the early-to-mid 90’s when I visited SD often while living down in Orange County. Anyway, hope you survived the cold/wet weather down there and got back home safely.

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