Party at People's Park

Any other day of the week, at least during daylight hours, BART trains run every few minutes, and you don't have to give any thought to the schedules. On Sundays, though, there's only one train every twenty minutes, and they're never full-length 10-car trains; almost invariably, they're mini-trains, 4 or 5 cars long.

What this means is, you can wait a long, long time for a train on Sundays, and when it comes it'll be packed tighter than Lego toys clicked together. A puny little 5-car train toots into the station only three times an hour, and you gotta elbow somebody if you're hoping for a seat.

It pisses me off. When you're standing on the train during weekday rush hours, at least you know it's unavoidable — 10-car trains jammed to capacity come by every few minutes, all with more commuters than seats, but BART's making an effort.

On Sundays, BART's only going through the motions, and they're slow-motions.

Today I waited at 16th & Mission for half an hour because the trains were running late, and then stood all the way for a bumpy ride under the water and across Oakland.

If they ran trains every 15 minutes on Sundays,  instead of every 20, or ran 8-car trains instead of 4-car trains, there'd be seats. You could read a book, look out the window, and it could be a pleasant ride.

BART doesn't want it to be a pleasant ride. They've decided that on Sundays, people can stand around waiting, and then stand around riding.

Why? I'm sure the answer is complicated, but it comes down to something simple and obvious: BART's management gets six-figure salaries. When any of them go anywhere on a Sunday, they take the Cadillac, never the train.

♦ ♦ ♦  

27 years ago today, hippies seized an empty block of U-Cal property, and started transforming it into their own space, People's Park.

It's a great story, and it's still a park very different from ordinary parks. There's a welcoming do-it-yourself vibe, a stage where anyone can make music or speeches, and free clothes dropped off are yours for the wearing from a big wooden box. At People's Park it's still the 1960s, and you can get there without a TARDIS.

For the park's silver+2 anniversary, there was a big party today, with free rock'n'roll, reasonably priced drugs, and snacks and dancing and nudity and probably Parcheesi.

I couldn't attend the festivities, though. I was selling fish at the corner, close enough to hear but not see the strange goings-on.

With a few thousand extra people crowding into the park, its regular residents — the crazies so crazy they're 'park people' instead of street people — were squeezed through their beer breath and heroin stupors back into the rest of so-called society, so it was a wild day on the Avenue.

One old guy was babbling about biscuits and gravy to suburbanites coming out of the book store.

Another was shirtless and had 'hot' and 'cold' tattooed over his nipples, and he was singing "Garden Party" loud and off-key over and over.

A third guy I'd never seen before was walking up and down Telegraph with one hand in his pants while staring at pretty women. Someone called the cops, but the perv only argued until the two policemen walked away. Cops prefer arresting harmless people, not the ones making actual trouble.

There were a billion other wackos on the street, too many and too difficult to describe, and so many that the few familiar street people I saw were making their way to quieter neighborhoods. Perhaps yours.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

I've mostly stopped mentioning the Christians who are offended by the sacrilegious fish, but it's not because they're no longer offended and angry, no longer telling me I'll burn eternally in Hell. They are, believe me.

It's just that it's almost always the same righteous condemnation, and I'm tired of typing it up.

There was another brief argument this afternoon. "You're teasing God." "You're making fun of His holy fish." If you want the details, flip through a back issue, but until then, in Jesus' name, amen.

There is no God, and nothing proves that more plainly than the people complaining about the fish.

If there was a God, if we were created in Her image instead of she in ours, and if, for reasons only a god could comprehend, she was hiding Herself, demanding our prayers and worship and judging our alleged souls on the basis of who believes in Her, isn't it the skeptical ones She'd want to reward?

What use would a god have for people who've discarded the brains She designed, and instead believe fairy tales "on faith"?

From Pathetic Life #23
Sunday, April 28, 1996

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


  1. You don't like God, people, sports, your family, anyone you work with. Yes I read this but I wonder, you don't like anything I think.


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