a day in the big city

Today I took my first trip up to San Francisco via mass transit by myself.  I’ve lived here nine years, and I’ve never done that.  (During my first two years here, I used to go up to SF frequently for SF Symphony Chorus rehearsals, but I rarely went up alone.  And I never took mass transit.)  I went to SF to attend a Music Together teaching workshop.  I’ve always enjoyed these in the past, but I usually attend a workshop that is much closer.  That wasn’t an option this year, and I really wanted to attend a workshop, and my choices were SF or Santa Cruz.  The timing for the SF one worked better for our family, so off to SF I went!

However, I was very nervous about this.  I like riding Caltrain, and I like riding Muni, but I’ve never done these things on my own.  I’d never even bought a ticket on my own!  JJ had always done it for us.  I was so nervous about this that I had a big ol’ anxiety attack last night.  It was my first full-blown anxiety attack in quite a few months.

But, JJ consoled me this morning and encouraged me to go.  “You’ll have a great time once you’re actually on the train, and you’ll enjoy the time to yourself,” he wisely said.  So, I did it.  And, he was right: Once I got on the train, I relaxed and enjoyed myself.  In a small way, it was a bit like my solo trip to Wisconsin last May.  I was really nervous to go on that, too, but I had fun once I was actually doing it, and in the end I was glad I had gone.

Once in downtown San Francisco, I had to walk five blocks from the Muni station on Market Street (which is essentially Main Street in SF) to the location where my workshop was held (on Golden Gate Avenue – isn’t that appropriate?), but it wasn’t too bad.  The weather was quite cool and windy and the sun was not shining today in SF thanks to the thick marine layer that was hanging over the city, but I brought enough layers with me and stayed reasonably warm.  There were, as usual, TONS of people around, but I think it’s rather invigorating to be surrounded by so many people.

The workshop itself was quite fun.  I knew the workshop leader from other workshops I had been to, and I knew a few of the other teachers as well.  I had a good time sitting next to a gal from Marin who was quite saucy and funny.  She was appreciateve of all the good song and teaching ideas that I shared with her, as she was a relatively new teacher.

The only trouble I had with using mass transit was on my way home.  I had to purchase a second Muni ticket, but in my new-rider ignorance, I completely forgot to grab my ticket out of the turnstile once I paid for it and walked through.  I still got on the Muni (and luckily didn’t get caught by a ticket agent!), but I now know the make sure I grab my ticket before I get on the train!

While waiting for my Muni train, I also got to witness something I’ve only ever heard about: a completely full subway car.  I mean COMPLETELY FULL.  It stopped at the station, every seat was filled, and even the standing room was filled.  People were literally packed together like sardines.  One additional passenger managed to just barely squeeze onto the platform with the door just closing behind him.  I have never seen such a crowded subway car before!  Luckily, my Muni car was almost empty.

All in all, it was a really fun day.  JJ did fine having the girls all afternoon (I left on a noon train and got back around 6:45), although the girls were delighted to see me again.  It was nice to be welcomed home enthusiastically.

I’m not so scared to go up into SF on my own via mass transit again.  In fact, I might take one of the girls with me next time; I think they would really enjoy it.  🙂