I was delighted to see that our very own news organization did a story on construction workers commuting from places like Fresno (weekly) and Chico (daily) into San Francisco to help build One Rincon Hill and other monuments to the divide between Bay Area haves and have-much-less-than-it-costs-to-live-heres.
In the piece by Anrica Deb, one of our student correspondents from the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, I found my doppleganger of sorts in an ironworker named Elvis, a.k.a. John Saenz:
“There’s no one north of Santa Rosa,” said the new father, who keeps a picture of his 7-month-old daughter on the inside of his hard hat. Saenz owns a house outside Healdsburg, 70 miles north of the city, and gets up at 4:00 a.m. to commute to San Francisco daily. He lives five minutes from the Russian River and would happily work near his home if there were any jobs there.
I identify with him because his commute is as long as mine, and while I’m really glad I found my job in Oakland and love it to death, I didn’t find it until I had exhausted all possibilities of working within 20, 30 or 40 miles of home.
On the other hand, I can sometimes telecommute and don’t have to leave the house at 4 a.m. to get to a construction job. That has to be great for avoiding traffic. I avoid much of it by starting an hour later than most commuters and leaving work two hours later. Then there’s the train, which Elvis can’t do until they build SMART, and even then, why bother with train and ferry when you’re commuting at 4 a.m. and U.S. 101 is your own private driveway?
Elvis also gets $16 an hour more than I do. But then I’m not Elvis, am I?
Photo from www.car-nection.com.