With Google's buses becoming a symbol of the friction between Old San Francisco and Tech Boom Silicon Valley — a tension which I literally embody — I'm finding I need to have handy Rebecca Solnit's brilliant original diary about the buses and what they signify.
Most of them are gleaming white, with dark-tinted windows, like limousines, and some days I think of them as the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule over us.
Other days I think of them as the company buses by which the coal miners get deposited at the minehead, and the work schedule involved would make a pit owner feel at home.
The Google Bus means so many things. It means that the minions of the non-petroleum company most bent on world domination can live in San Francisco but work in Silicon Valley without going through a hair-raising commute by car — I overheard someone note recently that the buses shortened her daily commute to 3.5 hours from 4.5. It means that unlike gigantic employers in other times and places, the corporations of Silicon Valley aren’t much interested in improving public transport, and in fact the many corporations providing private transport are undermining the financial basis for the commuter train. It means that San Francisco, capital of the west from the Gold Rush to some point in the 20th century when Los Angeles overshadowed it, is now a bedroom community for the tech capital of the world at the other end of the peninsula.