This was all unsettling enough, of course, until we recall the case of the man in May who was caught by a conductor having sex with a BART seat as opposed to on it. If you're the sort of person who's attracted to furniture, you might assume a person would choose a nicely-upholstered love seat, or at least a Barcalounger. A BART seat seems like the Atlantic City prostitute of furniture. But to each his own. The man himself was evidently so satisfied with the tryst that he sat back to smoke some crack afterward, but was polite enough to apologize to the conductor — for smoking. In October, he escaped indecent exposure charges because it was decided that he seemed to be trying to keep his encounter as private as possible. Again, no grandstanding, no furniture-porn.

The takeaway from all this may be that when we ride, we ride alone, together. BRR

Call of the Wild
From late June to early August, a yellow-bellied marmot, native to the Sierras, rampaged through Bernal Heights. On the surface, it could be read as a parable for nature finally beginning the reclamation of our developed world. But of course, that omits the obvious fact that nature, like human society, is full of jackasses. In this case, the marmot, that Cadillac of squirrels, had been looking to score some antifreeze up in the mountains when it stowed away in a traveler's car and found itself in the big city.

Marmots, so the scientists were delighted to report, have a powerful thirst for the sweet, sweet ethylene glycol in antifreeze. But unlike other animals that have been known to partake of this animal-kingdom absinthe, marmots don't seem to suffer the toxic effects; they just get drunk and sit around under cars in mountainous parking lots, talking a lot of big talk about their college days. So it was a crazy series of mishaps that led this drunken fellow to disembark in San Francisco, eyes wide (if bleary). It's basically the story of An American Tail, only with the contemporary twist that the marmot got its own Twitter account out of the deal. BRR

The Batkid Rises
Say what you will about whatever else happened on Nov. 15, but most eyes that had access to screens that Friday were tuned in to the story of Miles Scott, a 5-year-old leukemia survivor for whom the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in conjunction with the city and many volunteers, transformed San Francisco into Gotham City and launched young Miles, as Batkid, on an adventure through it. Together with a Batman and a modded Lamborghini Batmobile, Batkid thwarted the Penguin, saved a damsel, had a spot of lunch, and charmed the whole world. Bitterness lifted, cynicism retreated, people felt good.

Or at least, most people felt good. A minority of folks were like, "Aren't there better things to spend money on?" while the vast, unified, enchanted mob was like, "Fuck you, it's adorable." There was some eager vitriol in shutting down the naysayers, a sign that, perhaps, people are desperate for something positive, inspiring, or simply nice in these strange times. The cost to the city was $105,000, a sum that won't fall on taxpayers but whose practical value can be debated. The symbolic value, of Batkid and a city that would transform itself for the sake of spectacle, seems like the more interesting thing to consider: Do we all, in our sophistication and urbanity, still just need heroes? BRR

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