dailybell: Ferry Building

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ferry Building

9/12 AM Greeting Commuters at Sunrise
I arrived at the Ferry Building earlier than usual today so it was still quite dark. A few stragglers were disembarking from the latest ferry, and the Baylink bus had not yet arrived. However, someone was in my parking space! I waited him out and no sooner had I pulled into the space than the bus pulled up. I sat in my car in the dark and watched the passengers leave the bus and disperse into the city. It was another sunless morning. At some point it got light enough to pass for day. As I waited to pull away from the curb another big bus pulled in behind me as the earlier bus prepared to leave. I am so excited because this means when I come back on Monday there will be a whole new group of people who haven’t encountered the greeting and the bells on their way to work.

9/17 AM
Yesterday morning I was excited to go to the Headlands. When the alarm went off, I didn’t moan and groan as much as usual. Anticipation cheered me up and got me out of bed. It was the first time all year that this tiny bit of happiness and waking up so early in the morning occupied the same time and place. It was so much more pleasant than the usual chore of getting up too early has been than I decided to see if I could get as excited about going to the Ferry Building.
What do I like about going to the Ferry Building before sunrise? Hmm. Well, I like driving there. Since there are very few cars on the road, I can drive fast. The route goes through the park and the Presidio and along the bay. When I am not grumpy about it, it’s actually very nice. Once I have arrived, I like the routine of setting out the sign, unhitching the bell and posting whatever the current time for the sunrise is supposed to be. I have gotten used to being ignored and just go about my business. Ringing the bell well is something of a challenge. It’s awkwardly hung on blocks of wood so that it doesn’t swing freely. The bell is also out of balance and favors swinging in one direction more than the other so it is difficult to get a regular rhythm. But it is possible. And finally, on the off chance that anyone is interested enough in what is going on to stop for a moment, I get to talk with people I would never otherwise meet.

9/19 AM The Stage is Set, The Audience Awaits
Clear clear clear. There are many more cars on the road at this hour compared to even half an hour earlier. And even though there are more drivers, they are generally less speedy and aggressive than the earlier shift. Since I decided to slow down and broaden my focus to include all aspects of sunrise – including the preparation and time beforehand, I am enjoying this early morning a bit more. When I arrived at the Ferry Building today, I strolled around, took some photos, walked to the end of the pier and looked around. It smelled really good there this morning. Like the sea. As I walked around, I rang the little cymbal bells until it was almost time for the sun cross the horizon. Then I went back to the car and rang the big bell for the many joggers running by at this hour.

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