Saturday, April 2, 2011

Clang Goes the Trolley

Powell & Jackson Cable Car by Night
I'm loathe to photograph the icons of San Francisco too directly, as their image has been wrung dry of all meaning. Living a half block from a cable car line puts that particular icon in a very certain place in my daily life. I hear it morning, noon, and night but it becomes just another set of notes and chords in the city's never-ending symphony. When it turns up the hill the metal-against-metal sends a light shiver up my back. At a certain hour when the tourists are heading back to the Wharf, their inebriation impels them to go "WHOO!!" when it turns, as though they are at Coney Island and not at the crossroads of a few ultra-urban neighborhoods of San Francisco. When the mood strikes, the conductors rattle the bells as if they've got to get down on the good foot, which usually sends the the visitors into a clatter. I don't begrudge the fun of it all. It can grate, but that is a small nit compared to the constant reminder that San Francisco is always inviting you to come out and play.

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