Two stories — a thousand dollars each

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Considering the distance I could have flown but decided to take a different route.

I deliberately chose to take a Greyhound — traveling 7+ hours on a packed bus.

Why?

As a non-frequent visitor of the West Coast and the Bay Area I wanted to experience the other non-tech (let’s face it) “lower” side as well — to engage with people from all parts of life, those who cannot afford a flight ticket, who take this as their only option to travel. Taking a Greyhound was a perfect way to see all this.

I booked a night trip to LA. Arrived to the San Francisco station at around 9pm. The atmosphere was — as I unconsciously expected — way different from what I experienced during the day while roaming the city. It was cold, depressed and gloomy.

People were tired, trying to sleep, to read, to somehow already “be” elsewhere. A lady next to me — possibly in her late forties — was on the phone. She was having a difficult conversation with someone. Soon she started crying. A few sentences hit my ear: “… I have no money….. If only I could have a thousand dollars….”

A thousand dollars. The magical words. Money. Thousand.


Two days later I was back to the Bay Area — taking a similar night ride on a Greyhound. As part of my schedule I also wanted to get a feel of one of the world’s most famous universities nearby, Stanford.

Spent a few fantastic hours at the campus visiting the Memorial Church, walking around and having a sandwich at the CoHo. Much different atmosphere. Smiling students, chatting, seemingly having fun. Relaxed, sunny, light.

I usually don’t eavesdrop on conversations but this time it was fairly easy to hear what a group of young ladies at the table next to me were talking about. In their mid twenties — quite possibly Stanford students.

One of them riased the — I believe — classic #1 topic in female circles: shoes.

“…Ah this one looks lovely. How much did it cost?”

“Oh, it was a grand.”

“Wow.”

A thousand dollars. The magical words. Money. Thousand.

Saving someone (though possibly temporarily) from the abyss, or simply get somethings that you wear on a (possibly very) few occasions.

Draw your own conclusions.