I’ve tried to wash its deformed human-like face from my memory… to no avail.
Like any good hyperlocal Twitter Gay, I keep up with all things Bay Area Public Transit Twitter. (To those asking: Yes, these are, in fact, things — and these online communities complement one another exceptionally well.) This past weekend, it was BART’s 50th birthday, which was punctuated by a birthday bash at its Lake Merritt Station.
Thousands of people showed up. There was a themed cake. Children played tactile games. A piece of the BART’s rail system was up on display (for curious passersby to touch); a crowd sat underneath a marquee tent and sang “Happy Birthday” to the rapid transit agency that’s made up of 120 miles of train track.
It was a glorious event to live vicariously by way of thumbing through Twitter and liking posts re: the celebration with abandon. But, there were images I could neither unsee nor pull my gaze away from.
And those were the digital stills featuring a small-scale model BART train with a human nose. With a pair of human eyes. With a human mouth that wasn’t quite open but wasn’t completely closed.
— Zach Lipton is voting YES on J for JFK and NO on I (@zachlipton) September 10, 2022
Its chin, which looked handsomely angular and akin to Jay Leno’s famous lower jawline, seemed capable of chiseling down a concrete wall.
The replica’s gaze is its most upsetting and “downright disturbing” physical feature. I can’t really think of anything that compares to it. Perhaps this personified BART train took too much GHB before wheeling itself out to the family-friendly event — its pupils forever fixated in a dilated state, painted to look at something flung out over its upper left-hand side.
— BART (@SFBART) September 10, 2022
Other pictures taken from more straight-on angles pedestal this creature’s strong brow ridge. (TBH, it’s an enviable biological characteristic I found myself saying “werk” at in the secluded safety of my apartment.)
It’s an airhead; a small plexiglass window cut out from half its forehead shows a sparse cabin littered with empty space.
— Amtrak (@Amtrak) September 10, 2022
This human-skewing amalgamation of metals and plastic, however, appears to have some sort of utility. One picture I found captures its tubular body, placed atop two axles with thick tires secured on the ends of them.
Leather — the color of a slightly decomposed body found bloated and floating in a freshwater stream — wraps at least two passenger benches. There’s a steering wheel and driver’s seat. Maybe it served as a shuttle? That makes the most rational sense.
I can respect the parties responsible for the creation (inception, ideation) of this replica. It’s clear those behind it never submitted to the neighborhood cult of subjective normality. They said fuck that, here’s an object that will haunt you at 2:17 a.m. when your mind refuses to settle. By doing so, they offered the masses an unforgettable riff on a personified BART train.
It’s an object of study — the exact field of contemplation remains an enigma, mind you. This riddle, much like the replica’s strong mammalian features, will keep me tossing and turning in the dead of night.
Conceivably, turning my own gaze and focus toward images of Saturday’s displayed A car cab might offer some solace.
Feature Image: Courtesy of Twitter via @zachlipton