I’m coming down California into Grant when, all of a sudden, the entire car is engulfed in unnatural silence. All of the sensations that normally accompany a cable car–the rattling, the humming, the vibrations–disappear in a heartbeat. It’s as if the car just passed out in a narcoleptic fit. This can mean only one thing.
The rope is down. It’s late–there aren’t many passengers onboard–the Chinese restaurants have closed. The dead stillness only adds to the spooky atmosphere. I feel like some mass evacuation has been ordered–‘Martian Invasion Fleet Sighted’–and I’m the only one who doesn’t know.
After a quick consultation with my conductor, I try to coast the car downhill as far as possible (gotta outrun those Martians). We get as far as Sansome before momentum gives out. Over the radio comes, “Cal rope down for the night.” The wrecker’s going to have to come down and retrieve each car individually. By the time they get around to me, it’ll be time to go home. All I have to do is sit tight and wait for the truck. Simple.
Now…nothing is ever simple at Cable Car Division. If it seems simple, you’ve got trouble around the corner.