Friday, December 19, 2014

Bus Report #851

This morning the 33 Stanyan bus slowed down when it saw the two of us waiting, then sped up and drove off. I yelled after him but it made no difference. The other person waiting in the stop, an older man who always reeks of Axe body spray, didn't do anything except shrug and retreat to a dry spot under a nearby awning.

I was pissed off - mostly because the 33 is an infrequent bus and it meant another 20 minutes or so waiting in the rain - but also because that driver saw us. No question. he just didn't want to stop.

I called 311 while I waited for the next bus and made a complaint. I felt better and killed some time, but it didn't get me to work any faster.

Another bus came, and the body spray guy waved frantically for the bus to stop. It did, and we got on.

A few blocks later, and the giant genie got on, once again wearing his tall, tall boots. Once again carefully brushing his beard and mustache with his dandy brush. His earrings sparkled in the bright light on the bus.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bus Report #850

Three for Thursday...

This morning, stepping off the 33 and crossing 16th, what do I see tucked away beside a concrete building column?
A gorgeous-looking chocolate cake with a smooth ganache, with sprinkles. On a plate, with toothpicks on top to help tent the plastic wrap on top of it (which was partially torn, leaving the cake exposed to the elements).

A cake left out in the rain, folks.

*                             

Last night, rain, and Muni once again unable to handle it. The 10 Townsend never arrived so I crowded on to the 22 Fillmore, which was late.
I got the last seat on the bus, next to a man who said, "That's the most coveted seat on the bus."
We chatted a little. He was from L.A. and was not bothered by the rain at all. "We need it," he said. "At least there aren't any mudslides here like in southern Cal."

More people crowded on, their umbrellas dripping everywhere, their backpacks bumping people.
Kids from the middle school up the street, talking about how one of their brother's just got a gun.
I hope it was just bragging/bravado and not the truth, though I suspect it was the truth.

Slow commute down Fillmore and I missed the 5 Fulton by a minute, watched it drive off while I ran to catch it. NextBus unhelpfully said the next bus would be in 10 minutes and 23 minutes, or 11 minutes and 13 minutes if I wanted the 5L.

Luckily, (well, unluckily, I guess), the NextBus sign was wrong and a 5 pulled up a couple minutes later.
I stood on the bus near the door, next to a woman who looked angry, or worried, or both. I hope her night only got better.
 
*

And Tuesday night, another overcrowded, dripping wet 22 Fillmore bus. A man got on at Mission and I recognized his jacket, immediately.

Because it used to be mine, and I gave it to Goodwill a couple months ago.

It was my jacket, I just know it - blue zip-up with a white stripe running around it horizontally. It was always too big for me and not waterproof, and I hadn't worn it in over twelve years when I donated it. It was still in good shape and I knew someone else would really like it. It had been a men's jacket to begin with, from a store back in Boston before I moved out west.

The man stood in front of me and I could not stop staring. At him wearing my jacket. At the odds of seeing my jacket on someone else. At how the jacket, still not waterproof, was soaked through almost all of the way.

And I pictured myself in that jacket,  newly arrived in San Francisco, a sweatshirt underneath the too-big, boxy blue jacket. My hands shoved in the pockets, wandering the Lower Haight and the Mission, looking for my first apartment during another long ago housing crunch, staying out all night to avoid going back to where I was staying those first few weeks in the city.

Pictured myself going to my first temp job here, in my only shoes (blue Dr. Martens), my only decent pants (black slacks) and my only decent shirt (a grey early fleece v-neck, already growing threadbare by that time). No one in that corporate environment saying anything about my bad clothes. Spending my first check on another pair pants, on cheap Community Thrift shoes, still searching for a place, still hoping to make San Francisco work for me.

I stopped staring at the man before he noticed and stared back.
I hope he gets a lot of good use out of that jacket.




Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Bus Report #849

I think it's safe to say that this week is, as odd as it sounds, beard week on Fog City Notes.

This afternoon I caught the 5 Fulton to Divisadero from downtown.
An older man got on the bus and stood near the front. He was wearing a nicely tailored suit with a light blue shirt and a blue and lavender tie, shiny black shoes and an understated silver wedding band. He had a well-maintained salt and pepper beard but from where I sat, it looked like he had a piece of food or something stuck to the side of his beard. I wondered if he had any idea he had something caught there, or if someone on the bus would say something, but he just stood there and the people sitting around him didn't say anything to him.

He eventually made his way back to near where I was sitting. He turned and I could see the object in his beard quite clearly.

It was a small blue and gold piece of jewelry, in the shape of a stylized spider with slightly inward-curving legs that nestled into the hair just above the right side of his chin. the spider's body was blue, and I wondered if it was lapis lazuli.

How very odd, I thought, but also, how cool. Beard jewelry. Huh. Never saw that before.

Bus Report #848

This morning on the 33 Stanyan, two beauty regimens struck me down to my soul...

The giant genie sat beside me today. I admit, I was excited to get the chance to really check him out. He sat down and took off his watch cap, and fanned himself with it. He was warm - very warm - radiating heat for the rest of our mutual commute. He really is a huge, huge guy, bigger today than yesterday, is that even possible?
He sat down and took out a lip balm stick that I think was actually mustache and beard wax. He smeared it all over his face with long, repetitive strokes, then slipped the stick back into his pocket. He took out his dandy brush and gave his whole beard a good brushing. All the while, he balanced his backpack and a large gardener's style bag between his massive knees. He wore rubber rain boots that were so tall, if I'd put them on they'd probably come up over my thighs.

At the next stop, a woman got on, wearing a tank top and shorts as though she was on her way to the gym. The teal and turquoise of her outfit contrasted with her deep brown skin. She looked cold. I shivered in sympathy. She was beautiful, absolutely stunning in an understated, graceful way. She deftly dotted lotion all over her face and neck until she was covered in tiny white spots, and then she rubbed it in. Watching her hands work the lotion into her skin, twisting over and over themselves, was mesmerizing.

I am always struck by moments like this, when people do things in public that just seem so intimate and private.

When she was done moisturizing she put on some makeup. You don't need it, I thought. You look effortlessly great already.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Bus Report #847

Sorry for the quiet November, but I was doing NaNoWriMo and didn't have any free time. I've saved up a few posts that I'll put up throughout the next week or so when I have a moment.

But now, I'm back!

This morning on a wet yet oddly cozy 33 Stanyan:

The man sitting across from me was big, and tall, and bald with a thick, thick beard. He looked like the genie from the Disney Aladdin movie, except, you know, not blue.

He took a small bottle from his bag, and his comb, and poured some liquid on his comb. He combed his beard, mustache and eyebrows with it, then reapplied. I think it was some kind of essential oil or beard conditioner. Then, just when I thought he was done, he took the smallest little horse brush (what the internet tells me is also called a dandy brush, which made sense) from his bag and brushed his beard and mustache for a few minutes.

I won't lie. It looked good.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bus Report #846

Lovely orange sunrise today over Potrero Hill, was it for the Giants, I wondered, as I walked down 16th.

Oh, Giants. Your win was exciting, but I could have done without the fireworks and firecrackers, and this morning's re-route of the 33 Stanyan, which climbed high up over the Castro and then roller-coasted back down the hill to 18th Street. In the Mission, trash and graffiti and many, many garbage trucks and street cleaners all up and down Mission Street and the numbered streets.

Earlier, walking down a pitch-black Clement Street, it was just me and some dog walkers, and a man talking to himself, and two men blinking in the glare of Alex Bakery's florescent lights. Further down the street, there was an abandoned book on the bench outside Toy Boat Dessert Cafe - Millennials Rising - left next to a black and white checkered scarf.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bus Report #845

I've been trying a new route for the past few days, and I think I like it.

In an attempt to sleep more and commute less I thought I'd try taking the 33 instead of my usual combo of the 38 to the 22. Don't get me wrong - I still love my 38 and 22 commutes - but I have to say the 33? Well, it's treating me right.

The walk to the bus stop takes me down a quiet, cold, shuttered Clement Street. Only a few people out and about that I can count on one hand- dog walkers, early morning/late night donut eaters and coffee drinkers, old folks reading the newspaper inside Alex Bakery.

The street lights aren't really on yet, nor are the traffic lights, and the fog makes what little light there is look softer, diffuse.

There are never more than four or five people waiting at the stop and when the bus comes it is silent and empty. After picking up a few people in the Richmond we soar through the Haight and Twin Peaks, barrel down into the Castro past a gold and blue sunrise.

It is beautiful.



People I avoided this morning:

Man on Clement and 6th, shouting and crying, clutching a sweater to his chest.

Man on 16th and Bryant, who I can only describe as rangy, greasy shoulder length hair and worn leather jacket, clutching a length of pipe and walking straight towards me until he veered off to check for cigarettes by a still-closed bar.

Man on 17th and Kansas, flinging his arms out, shaking his fists, yelling at cars, twirling.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Bus Report #844

This morning the 38 smelled like bad body odor and old food. I opened a few windows and sat down.

Easy ride down to Fillmore where I waited in the bus stop alone, the sky still not quite light yet.

The bus was empty when it arrived and I got on. It soon filled with regulars - the construction guys I can never understand, high school kids that go to a Christian academy, a couple sharply dressed men in spiffy shoes and severe eye glasses. A day laborer wearing a hat from a Republican National Convention some years back.

Mister Fantastic, looking effortlessly fantastic as always. Dark jeans and a patterned Giants hat. A new bag that looked suspiciously like pretty man's olive dopp kit - only Mister Fantastic's was black to match his jacket, his shoes, his Clark Kents. Mister Fantastic is growing out his beard, too - with long sideburns that look (potentially, to this non-face shaver) hard to cultivate and maintain.

Those two. Really. They're already on the same beard-growing schedule, have similar bags, why aren't they married with five equally handsome and sleek dogs yet? (I'm thinking, greyhounds or great danes).

At Dolores our driver, a slightly severe, by-the-book guy, closed the back door on a man who was trying to get on without paying his fare. The doors closed on the man's hand and for a moment the hand looked like Thing from the Addam's Family, wriggling and trying to grab hold of something.
The driver made no move to open the door and the man, though he moved his hand up and down, didn't try to pry open the door.
"Hey," I called up to the driver, "Um, you've closed the door on this guy's hand."
No response.
My seatmate, a usually humorless girl with fried, overdyed hair, hopped up and stepped down to open the door. The man got on, muttered "thanks" to her, and hugged the nearest pole while arranging his half-dozen shopping bags around him.