Monday, November 02, 2015

Bus Report #895

Yesterday afternoon, a misty and weirdly warm ride home on the 38.
At Park Presidio a man got on the bus and the driver handed him a wallet. The man shook the driver's hand.
"Thanks, man, I really appreciate it, you're a lifesaver," he said. "What's your name? I'm Dave."
The driver shook the man's hand and introduced himself, though I could not hear his reply.
The man clapped the driver on the shoulder, thanked him again, and got out the bus.

A tourist couple sitting in the front of the bus smiled at each other. "That's really nice," said the woman in the couple.

And it was.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bus Report #894

Halloween Eve day, people in costumes already.

Is that woman wearing that cowboy hat for style, or for a costume? (her Halloweeny bandanna makes me think it is her costume.)
The pink-wigged, pink-backpacked, pink-boa-ed person of indeterminate gender standing on the corner: costumed or regular street clothes or somewhat unbalanced?

In the Castro, no signs of Halloween yet.
A man stops at the corner near Bank of America, reads the newest memorial poster hung on the bank's exterior. It is too dark to see the pictures on the poster but the streetlight reflects a little and I can tell the poster is covered in photos.

In Potrero, a woman dressed as a cow buys a coffee at the cafe. I wonder if she takes milk.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bus Report #893

Early morning, I'm sleepwalking down the street to catch the 33.
Cue the woman who moves her little white car every morning.
Cue the rideshare picking up the woman in blue scrubs waiting across the street.
There's an old pug dog and his owner standing at the corner. The dog can barely walk so when the light changes, his owner picks him up and carries him to the next corner.

The light comes on in a window opposite where I'm standing. The room is big, probably meant to be a living room, bookshelves along the back wall, lamp in the corner, a TV.
A man gets up from the bed and reaches for something outside my field of vision.
He is naked, sleepy, just waking up.

Probably not expecting to see an equally sleepy but completely dressed woman watching him from across the street.

He ducks down, then stands up again, and disappears into another room.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Bus Report #892

The open doors (and windows!) of Clement, redux.

This morning was cool and dark, but no fog.
Clement Street was just waking up as I walked down the street to catch the bus.
The donut shop was busy - three customers hunched over coffees and sweet pastries.
Further down the street, a man unloaded crates of food into a dark restaurant entryway.
The homeless woman I worry about all the time stood in front of her luggage, brushing her teeth and then spitting toothpaste foam into the gutter.

A familiar face illuminated by the light of a cell phone came in to view a block later. It was the friendly bus boy from my local diner. I said good morning to him, to which he replied, "Good morning, dear."

Doors ajar at the dim sum place, doors open just a sliver at the bakery. The sugary smell of the pineapple buns almost tempting me.

The bar, the bank, barely a light on, cleaners wiping down the doors. 

That same door with the steep stairs leading up to the landing. No wet suits today, just a grey bin on top of the bench. Still somehow inviting to me.

And the windows! Not as many open as during this summer's heatwaves, but still, upper-floor windows thrown open, screenless, leading me to wonder if any birds or bats have flown inside during the night.
Windows with clothes hanging up to dry or air out, bathroom windows open to release shower steam.
A tiny galley kitchen revealed, dim orange lighting, towels hanging to the left of the window, a shaggy-haired person in baggy clothes standing in front of the stove preparing breakfast.

Across the street from the bus stop, a silhouette of a head and shoulders in the window. The lighting and the setting feels very Halloweeny.
I stare intently, is it moving? Is it real? Just when I am about to close the case on this one, the silhouette turns to the right, shape shifting, reaching a previously unseen hand out towards something else unseen.

The bus arrived on time and I got on.
Just two other passengers. Someone sitting in the back, rear-facing, shrouded in a hood so that I couldn't get a clear look at them.
The Russian woman who always Skypes her son, Skyping her son.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bus Report #891

Last night I hurried up the street to catch the 19 Polk.
I had to be somewhere in forty minutes and the bus was already running late.
It arrived a few minutes later and I got on, slid in to an empty seat beside an older man in a floppy hat, who was on the phone.
When he finished his call, he fiddled with the phone and put on some music.
I braced myself for the usual tinny sound of bad top 40 tunes.
But no. Instead, a deep, rich voice boomed out from the tiny phone, singing a mournful song about love.
I asked the man what he was listening to. He turned the phone so I could see the name on the screen.
"It's Gerald Levert," he said. "You know him? You remember the old times?"
I didn't, and I didn't. "It sounds really lovely," I told my seatmate.
"Yeah well you know, I don't go in for all that rap stuff," he said. He shook his head. "Gerald Levert, you remember that."
"I will," I said.
We sat in silence and listened to the music.
The bus was crowded and people were yelling. A woman with a double stroller and two other kids clutched a large Mylar balloon in the shape of a big purple shark. She tried to keep the balloon away from the babies, away from the other passengers.
It was all very... 19 Polk.
But the music was pretty and for a moment the rest of the rush hour commute drifted away, out the window and out to sea.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bus Report #890

This morning our usual driver was training a new driver. The new guy drove slowly, while the usual driver leaned over to share tips and techniques.

In the Haight, by the McDonald's, a group of dodgy guys stood clustered around a fleet of (probably) stolen bikes and bike parts.
As we idled in the stop for a moment to let passengers on and off, one of the men grabbed a spray can and promptly began to tag the bus.

A young man sitting in the back of the bus called to the driver, "Hey, this guy is spray painting the bus!"

Our usual driver started to walk back to see what was going on, but by then the sprayer had retreated to the sidewalk and put away his cans.

Our usual driver urged his trainee to close the doors and keep going, and we rolled along.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bus Report #889

Last night, after a week of unseasonably hot weather, I stepped off the 38R at 6th and Geary and was excited to see my friend, our friend, Karl the Fog back in town.

Walking the rest of the way home I watched the fog rolling over the neighborhood in tendril-like wisps. Oh, it felt good.

This morning, the fog hung low over the neighborhood. It was heavy and thick and made me want to crawl back underneath the duvet I'd thrown off an hour earlier.

Lights were on in many of the homes all along Arguello and later, Ashbury. With the shades open, each illuminated room in the apartments and houses looked like a dollhouse room. Painting hung here and there. Kitchens cluttered with pots and pans and coffee makers all pressed up where the window meets the wall. Stoves in silhouette. Flickering televisions with the viewers hidden from sight. Cats sitting on the backs of sofas, surveying the streets.

The bus was almost empty my entire ride and for a moment I wondered if perhaps it was Saturday and I was going to work by mistake. We rounded the hairpin turn onto Market and the connection to the electricity fell down. The bus braked, hard, and then the driver hopped out to fix the connection.

On 16th and Potrero a man crouched over a glass jar and emptied something in to it. The jar was full of... I'm not sure. Vegetables? Vinegar? Was he making sidewalk pickles? I'll never know.