The international adventures of a singing, dancing zombie queen.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Riding BART every day, I tend to pay attention to the patterns of flow and class within the trains and at different times. I noticed that there are two full trains of upper-class business folks; the ones super early in the morning who go to the financial district in SF and have to be up for Wall Street and the rest of the folks, who get to work sometime between 9:10 and 10:30.

Just before the super early rich folks are the service workers, who need to open shops and make coffee for the yuppies. I have no idea how those brave folks manage to function that early in the morning without going postal.

Between the two groups of folks working in SF are the folks who come in to work in downtown Oakland by 9 am. It took me a while to sort out the difference in my mind, and to figure that it wasn't just that Oakland was full of sticklers who wanted people to come in earlier than 75% of the San Fran workers because of a lack of respect for a workforce more ethnically diverse and less finely clothed. I kept wondering if there weren't some sort of difference in managerial opinions of work ethic between SF and Oakland. Flexible schedules seem to be more popular in San Francisco, and the work force in downtown SF is decidedly whiter and, from what I've seen on craigslist, better paid. But perhaps there's a strictness in Oakland, I puzzled, a sort of 'you have to do things this way because that's the way they're done' ethic. Or perhaps there is a mistrust of the worker's moral impulse to be responsible about finishing their work if left to their own devices. Was it a cultural issue? Was it a form of reflexive classism?

It occurred to me eventually that those folks don't have as long of a commute, which probably explains most of the difference in commuter destination timing. But it is interesting that downtown Oakland tends to be 9-5, while SF seems to be 8-5 or 10-? ....

And I also notice other ways of getting where you're going while I'm riding the BART. I found myself significantly less interested in the time schedules of different classes of office workers on day in particular when I looked out of the window and saw, under the freeway near MacArthur, a couple sitting on egg crates, facing each other amidst their few belongings. She was tenderly fixing his tie. Only his tie wasn't silk. It was a white plastic grocery bag being used as a tourniquet so that they could find a vein for him to shoot up.

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Dance & Fitness Faculty member at San Francisco Peninsula Community Colleges, Director, Choreographer & Featured Dancer, Founder of the Living Dead Girlz, and Owner of the Steele Dance Company, which provides entertainment for festivals, corporate events, conventions and private events. Teaching private dance lessons and creating choreography since 1997, Steele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Double Major in Dance and Comparative Literature and completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography at Mills College. She has toured all the major cities in Germany and performed at the Cannes Film Festival as the featured dancer in TRIP -- Remix Your Experience, a multimedia exhibition of film, live music and art. Steele has also performed as a featured dancer for RJ Reynolds (CAMEL) promotional events. Steele currently manages the go-go dancers of "Poor Impulse Control," who perform frequently in San Francisco's industrial, alternative, and rock venues.