Saturday, June 5, 2010

#40 Bridge and Tunnel

No one likes them. They're hillbillies. Morons. West coast guidos. They are louche, uncouth, junior college drop-outs. They are the infamous B&T. And it's not even their fault. They are a product of their provenance. They hail from the stultifying dreck that is Fremont or Novato or Vallejo. Have you ever visited such places? Witnessed the local flavor? We haven't but we can imagine it - outdoor malls, rampant boredom, limited options, and the mean, dumber than hell, wife-beater, jean-short, off-brand white sneaker wearing crackers who congregate in driveways to drink beer. A person gets stultified in such situations. Hell, a goat would get stultified - stultified from behind, that is.

That's the thing: B&Ters literally practice bestiality. No, we don't know that. That's probably hyperbole. But they're certainly deviant reprobates. Construction workers and Pizza Hut managers and steroid abusers. The men are miscreants and the women street strumpets. You start to see them right as Friday afternoon turns into evening, appearing here and there in the gloaming, these tiny assemblies of gum-chewing, undereducated humanity. They are all slut fashion from Wet Seal and too much eye shadow and crass high heeled footwear, stepping out of Ford Mustangs or bouncing along Folsom on their way to Holy Cow, true life manifestations of
the most absurd steam of consciousness Black Eyed Peas song ever, sensing with their tiny reptilian brains that they've got a feeling - feelings being right in the sweet spot of their cognitive skill-set - and their feeling is that tonight is going to be a good night, woo-hooo, because they've got their money and will spend it up, they work at Houlihan's, they'll find some blow, they're going to smash it up, like oh my God, they'll burn a car, they'll shoot a dog. They're going to do it! They will invade the Marina en masse at 11:30, like Visigoth marauders, storming Circa, puking in the streets, driving their cars into curbs, minds whirring like that of a Labrador Retriever in a field of bouncing tennis balls. They'll shut that sh*t down.

Perhaps this is an unfair characterization. Kind of classist, and not in the good Beethoven or Mozart way. And yet the simple fact remains: whoever these B&T are, however virtuous and spiritually coherent and life affirming they may be deep down, we do not want them amongst us. "Us" being the persons who can read.

Actually we could care less. The challenge is that humans prize boundaries. With no Dr. Evil there is no Austin Powers. You can't have Superman without Lex Luther. Fallstaff without Hotspur. Relevance depends on countervailing forces. You need rules. Exclusivity. It's basically the goal of the human condition: to distill and cordon off some kind of meaning and order amidst the outbreak of chaos happening everywhere.

This how the B&T ruin it: they blur the boundaries. All week long SFers carefully strategize and fabricate a network of social interactions, performing social maneuvers of extraordinary nuance and delicacy, establishing precisely who is good and who is evil, who is desirable who is repugnant, who is in and who is out, all those pieces are put in place, like a neatly arranged chess board, and then the weekend comes, this Manichean match-up everyone has been preparing for, and then suddenly about five billion strangers from Marin and Alameda and local prisons come streaming across the bridges and through the Bart tunnel to upend the chess board and basically f*ck everything up.

They f*ck up things in other places too. That is true. The term B&T actually originated in Manhattan. But there, like many cities, B&T have no real influence. The metropolis itself is too large. B&T are few oil drops in a vast sea. But in SF the B&T have the population advantage. They are deep sea BP gusher in a little gulf. They are an environmental disaster.

The constructs that comprise the kind of hierarchies and exclusions that denigrate and slander B&T are of course arbitrary and capricious. They are an illusion, blah, blah, blah. But it's how the human race trundles along. An important principle of life we learned from a television commercial is that
when you let everyone play ... no one wins. We demand distinctions. We demand clarity and a line-up card before we're willing to socialize and make biblical-style relations. It's a curious thing about progressive thinking about difference and equality, it vitiates some of the most exciting and invigorating aspects of being alive. It really vitiates them. It vitiates them from behind.


  1. Vallejo:San Francisco :: San Bernardino:Los Angeles

    Well done, Mr. Snodgrass.

  2. May I suggest an entry discussing the Marina? Since that area seems to be the highest concentration of females in and around SF. It might seem aburd that the Marina has any play in this but condier the DOUCHE factor required to date the girls there...

  3. I always hated how the South Bay has no technical "bridge" or "tunnel", per se, but most of the trash I see comes out of San Jose.

  4. We tried to create a SF version of B&T. We started calling it "650," referencing the area code of the south bay. As in, "This crowd is totally 650."

  5. Lex LuthOr. With an O.

  6. In SF, my compatriots and I used to call them five and dimers (as in 510)... a little more poignant than 650'ers.

  7. Marin.... Total bridge and tunnel....

    ha ha, gotta love that one.

    I would live in marin any day. I am not sure where you are from, but you are off by a long shot on the novato claim.

    Anyways, as a 5th gen sf resident I think that most people come here to be something they envision and get lost in the fog of delusion of illusions. Free love, peace, freedom, independence. The turnover here in the city is pretty high.

  8. Instead of "B&T", we say "B&P" .
    Or more recently, "BP". Given the amount of damage the company has caused in the Gulf, it seemed appropriate.

  9. East Bay Trash (apparently)January 2, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    The irony of course is that most San Francisco residents (like Manhattanites) have lived in "their" city for a lot less time than the B&Ters have been around. I'm sure the average Contra Costan or San Jose "trash" is more native than half the PacHeights & North Beach hipsters.....just the way Long Islanders are probably a helluva lot more native than some Greenwich Village weasel who moved in after college.

    Face it, you're a snob. Don't worry though, the Bridge and Tunnel folk look their nose down at the Central Valley while you look your nose down at us. The circle of life.

  10. And we in the Central Valley look down our noses at...our feet.

  11. Brilliant. May I suggest an article about people who try to disconnect and isolate themselves from what is going on around and instead of enjoying the city ambiance they are completely and utterly consumed with their i-pods, texting, and sunglasses (especially women). From morning walk to work and public transportations to desperate reaching for their phone to text during every lone moment. Most of us are probably guilty of it, but it doesn't make it any less worthwhile to write about. Thanks a lot in advance.

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