This morning the 33 was almost empty, just five of us passengers and the driver.
Three of us, the ladies, all had dark curly hair - and this made me happy, but I am not sure why.
The other two passengers were a young guy who reminded me of someone from a long ago TV show and another regular passenger, a guy who always seems affectless, humorless. A human iceberg.
The bus rolled down Arguello and it did not take long to notice there was a problem with the back door. It would not close without human intervention - either one of us had to pull it closed or the driver had to stop the bus, get up, and do the same. There was a trick to it, since if we stepped down into the stepwell the motion sensors would fling the doors open, so we had to lean, and push.
I am not the praying type but I hoped we would make it at least down to the Castro before we had to go out of service, because that's how it was looking. I didn't want to get stuck in the Haight or Twin Peaks if I was going to have to walk part of the way to work. It was too early, still dark.
The five of us passengers took turns fixing the door, encouraging the driver. We smiled and joked with each other and wondered if we would get to work on time.
The driver said, "Sorry, you guys. Just bear with me, okay?"
Of course, we're with you, we've got your back, we all replied at one time or another as we slowly crawled up Ashbury.
The doors kept flying open, though, as we were driving. An unsafe situation even if we were all seated away from the door.
The young guy offered to stand there and hold the door shut.
"Nah, you'd be a liability, man," the driver said, smiling. "Can't let you do that."
The other curly-haired woman, a regular with a beautiful smile, wondered if there was anything we could use to push the doors shut.
The older German woman offered her umbrella. "Perhaps we can jam it so it does not come open?"
"No one has a length of rope or some chains this morning?" I said, kidding.
The driver just shook his head. "It's too early for this. And before breakfast."
"You have not yet eaten?" asked the German woman. "We must get you something."
"I'll be okay," said the driver. He fussed with the doors again. "Just stick with me a little bit longer, let's see what happens."
The doors did not, flying open again the minute the driver sat down and restarted his system.
"There's another bus in three minutes," said the iceberg man.
When the other bus came in to sight, we all trooped off our bus through the front door so we could say good bye and good luck to the driver.
The German woman squeezed his arm, wished him a good day.
I told him I hoped his day got better.
The young guy had just requested an Uber. He hastily canceled his order, waved to the driver.
The other curly-haired woman pulled a green pear from her backpack. "If you need a snack to tide you over, you are welcome to have this pear," she said.
The driver demurred. In that moment, I loved everyone on that bus. I loved the cold foggy morning, the broken bus, and the brightly lit bus pulling up right behind it.
We five passengers got on the new bus and sat down.
Later, when it was time to go, we disembarked one by one, waved to each other, smiled like old friends.
I was the last to leave.