At a quarter past eight on the first Monday of the new year, the yellow line on the way to the city has just passed Orinda. A young man is standing in the bicycle priority area near the doors, reading a paper magazine. Write Your Novel in 2016! is the cover story, followed by more teasers below: "2 Tools That Can Fix Any Story Problem," "What's Really at Stake? The Secret to More Compelling Characters," and "5 Great Caribbean Literary Festivals: Get Away, Get Inspired!"
It catches the eye of a young woman who got on at Lafayette and has spent the last six minutes scribbling in a Moleskine notebook. "Oh!" she says, approaching. "Are you a writer, too?"
The man looks up, seeming slightly surprised and confused, which slightly surprises and confuses her in turn. "Of course not," he says, indicating the magazine. "If I were, would I be reading this?"
"I'm behind schedule this Monday morning," said the engineer, "but it'll be OK as long as the train isn't late."
The train was late. In that moment, the engineer was enlightened.
Wu's commentary: As one train door opens, another fails to close. The fool curses police activity at West Oakland. The wise person swims across the bay.
The doors are closing;
Please stand clear of the doors so
The train can depart.
I want you to consider the indignity of sitting on the train pondering the philosophy of linear functions of a single variable, not because you enjoy being reminded about being the kind of frail, helpless creature that needs hundreds of millions of microseconds to compute trivialities that any actual person would tell you come as naturally as breathing or mitosis, but because you want the website you're writing to have one of those adorable tag clouds and you need to tell the device what font sizes to use.