Punting

Dear J-

It’s Tuesday, which means there’s the fun of getting your ticket checked in the mornings. I’ve adopted the habit of swiping on for every ride which makes my anxieties less but there’s a couple — regular riders — who were put off the train at Burlingame, which confused me for a moment: no one gets out at B’game in the mornings; what’s happening? Then I saw the conductor looming behind them like some kind of … righteous dude? Yeah, rules are rules are rules and these are pretty unambiguous — trains and stations both carry signs stating proof-of-payment must be produced on-demand but still it seems odd they wouldn’t have it, though it is the beginning of the month.

Eventually they hope to electrify the train and not just as a potential deterrent to fare evaders (like me; I got caught April 1st of 2014 when I forgot to tag on): service will be more frequent and faster to boot; overhead power cables will be a potent reminder of what we’re missing out on when San Mateo County opted out of BART (in a chain reaction that forced Marin and Santa Clara counties to withdraw as well): three commuter rail systems, none interoperable. What’s the alternative, though? Have the tracks always been elevated at Belmont and San Carlos? Would they need to be in order to conform at San Mateo and further down the line, or would those cities have chosen to underground their BART stops? Perhaps the alignment would have been even different, taking a route along CA-82 El Camino Real?

I like to think about these potentials and what-might-have-beens as a distraction from the work at hand, which can be overwhelming at times. It’s easy to find a definitive answer to the dimensions of a Kyocera QCP 6035 (it might have been my first cell phone, but the 3035 was a lot cheaper and seemed to be working just fine — still have the number from that one, ported over two different carriers), but more subtle to find the answers to how much the plant is going to cost you going forward. How much? How fast? Forecasts and predictions are necessarily imprecise; there’s nothing you can do about them to make them prettier other than to chedck and recheck your assumptions, which gets tedious and then I … punt.

Mike

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