'His smile was all I needed. Before anyone else could wake up, we were out on the streets, bundled up against the bay wind. Not until that day had I realized just how much there was of me in that place. Every shop we went into I had a story for. On every street corner there was something that I could remember about this or that. As we branched off onto streets around the area there were houses I had been to, people I knew, moments I had. L.A., though it was my home, did not hold the memories that Frisco had. The city was coming alive for Eric with everything I said. When I suggested Golden Gate Park and asked if he wanted to go back for the car or go on, he said he wanted to walk. Once there I recounted for him the day of the Be-In over a year earlier and the picnic on the Fourth of July.
As we came back towards the shop he requested something that, in all my time in Frisco, I had never done. “What’s it like to take a street car?” When I explained that I had no idea, he all but demanded, “Then let’s fucking do it, cuz! I can’t believe, all the shit you’ve done, you’ve never taken a street car. This is San Francisco, goober!”
I laughed at the truth in the statement and the use of his childhood insult for me. My legs felt tired but I ignored them as I walked on to the downtown area where I had seen street cars go on more than one occasion. It did seem absurd to me that I had never done something as typical as ride on one of the famous cars. It was just never my thing. But for Eric I would make an exception. As soon as we spotted one, we hopped on. I was able to dig up enough money from my jeans to pay the way and I agreed when Eric suggested we stand. The icy wind slapping my face made me think that summer was probably the best time to take a ride but I couldn’t complain. Never had I seen the city in such a way and we both had a good time.'
(So how is that for an explanation? Did it work for you? I hope so since one of the biggest jobs of a fiction writer is to make the fiction seem believable...Ironic, huh? haha)
For those of you who are history buffs, here is the long and short of the cable car's time in Frisco (taken from http://www.sfcablecar.com/history.html):
| Early Cable Car History:|
The driving force behind the San Francisco cable car system came from a man who witnessed a horrible accident on a typically damp summer day in 1869. Andrew Smith Hallidie saw the toll slippery grades could extract when a horse- drawn streetcar slid backwards under its heavy load. The steep slope with wet cobblestones and a heavily weighted vehicle combined to drag five horses to their deaths. Although such a sight would stun anyone, Hallidie and his partners had the know-how to do something about the problem.
Hallidie had been born in England and moved to the U.S. in 1852. His father filed the first patent in Great Britain for the manufacture of wire- rope. As a young man, Hallidie found uses for this technology in California's Gold Country. He used the wire-rope when designing and building a suspension bridge across Sacramento's American River. He also found another use for the wire-rope when pulling heavy ore cars out of the underground mines on tracks. The technology was in place for pulling cable cars.
The next step bringing Hallidie closer to his fate was moving his wire- rope manufacturing to San Francisco. All that was now needed was seeing the accident for the idea to become full blown-a cable car railway system to deal with San Francisco's fearsome hills.
Cable Car Chronology:
The full ride on a cable car: