|SF Lunchwalk: North, third in a series exploring the city instead of eating lunch.|
I am exploring north along streets mechanized from below. Gears, pulleys, and cables live under the street, humming and clapping, droning and singing, partaking in the communion of automata.
I would begin not listening to machines, but to the bells of the Salvation Army. Passing a giant tree which these islanders clearly worship, my legs took me swiftly beyond the sparkle to the hard, clean edges of less populated terrain. I walked through a tunnel where the city's sound stretched out in long bellowing reverberance. There: on the other side, another world with yet another tunnel leading west. As I had decided to head strictly north with my hour of exploration, I left this second tunnel for another lunch hour walk.
Little boxes under the street are now singing out, easily heard in the calm of the northern streets. I step off from my sheltered, raised path to get a closer listen. I stand in the middle of the street, kneeling over the crevices where the heavy cable cars slide, laden with travelers seeking the typical view, those seeking to own the iconic moment. I am vulnerable here, where walkers should not be, and especially because I am kneeling over these mundane things and, triggering a passerby to think "I see something, should I say something?"
I reach the edge of the map half an hour into the walk. Returning south to the office, I trace this infrastructure which supports the endless touristic loops of the city. Surprisingly, even the most cliche of San Francisco icons has a depth to it. The gear boxes and cable junctures add a constant hum to the background static of the city. Listen:
SF Lunchwalk : North by nicksowers
What other machines are driving the city? The street is not the only place to look for them. An entire expedition is forthcoming which walks the escalators of the city. Later, I will explore the elevators. Then, revolving doors: an endless loop of machines moving an endless loop of people.