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.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Bus Report #843

Tonight, a crowded 22 Fillmore.

I sat next to a guy who always gets on at Haight. He was slumped in our seat, headphones on, but when I sat down he nodded, curtly, and half-smiled.

The bus filled up. A man with a wooden loom got on, stood beside me. The loom was almost as tall as he was - so, maybe over five feet tall? - and it was a bead loom. There were three inches or so of intricately woven Native-American inspired beaded designs, all done with the tiniest of seed beads. Mostly yellow, some red, black, and white.

Pretty man stood in the middle of the bus. Skinny black jeans and tight black shirt, open weave, slightly ratty (but in a stylish way) oatmeal colored sweater, big and long enough that if he belted it, it would be a dress. He wore a black watch cap piled on top of his head. Full beard.
He got out at Turk, walked down the block with an olive green dopp-kit-style bag swinging from his wrist.

The 38 was oddly empty when I got on at Fillmore, unusual.

Twenty minutes later I was on a crowded 38 after picking up some groceries, and because no one would move (I'm looking at you, dude with big backpack, suit with headphones, girl in leotard!) I accidentally stepped on a girl's foot. I felt bad, she was wearing what were basically ballet flats, but it wasn't my fault, it was either step on her or tumble into someone's lap with all my stuff.
She got out at Spruce.
No sign of permanent damage, no limping at all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bus Report #842

Yesterday afternoon, a sighting of pretty man.
He flounced off the 22 from his hidden seat in the back of the bus.
Khaki trench coat floating behind him, black nail polish, and a thicker beard than usual. Knitted watch cap as always.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bus Report #841

This morning, on the 22.

Greeted Mr. Henry Taylor, the world's oldest school crossing guard, with a smile and a wave and a good morning.
The bus was full but not crowded, everyone had a seat if they wanted one.

Two people in a row tried to put down the locked seat in the front of the bus. Neither paid attention to the stickers plastered on the seat that explain why it was locked.

A few minutes later, a man who is usually completely normal and polite began clipping his nails right behind me. I turned, sucked my teeth in disapproval. The woman sitting across from me caught my eye and scrunched up her face. We agreed - it was disgusting.

At 16th and Mission we all watched a police car, lights flashing, stop in the street as a man threw down a rather nice looking bike and took off running towards BART. The cops ran after him and caught him by the Burger King, handcuffing him against the dingy yellow wall.
The man standing with his back to me watched the whole thing, and then slowly shook his head.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bus Report #840

Last night on the 2 Clement, on the way home...

I got on the bus and quickly walked past the man sitting in the front. He is a familiar face around the neighborhood, always talking loudly to himself and to people who I don't think exist, often saying threatening things. He always seems agitated, wraps rubber bands around the cuffs of his pants, and reminds me of a feverish scarecrow.
I know he's got some problems he can't solve on his own, but he frightens me anyway.

He sat in the front of the bus and talked to nobody, at least, that's what I thought.

A few rows back sat an older woman with two large tote bags and two folding tables. At first I couldn't tell what they were talking about - they didn't seem to be on the same page at all - and then the man stopped himself mid sentence and asked her where she went to college.

"Me? Oh, I went to the University of Dust," she said. "Are you a student?"

"Oh yes," said the man. "Well, I'm not at school right now but I want to study the language of transport and infrastructure."

Huh, interesting, I thought.
He went on.

"Because you know, sometimes you're on a train and you can't tell what's going on because it's in a different language, and we read things one way but Germans do it another way, and then also the Israelis, because of imperialism, they're going to take over Europe."

The woman nodded. "Do you mean because they speak and read Hebrew?"

"Hebrew!" the man yelled. "Yes, exactly. It's like how Egypt doesn't have it anywhere else but for example France does." He looked at the woman. "School of Dust. Is that here in the city or in Northern California? Is it like epidemiology?"

"The School of Dust is not in California," the woman said. "It's everywhere."

"Like online?"

She gave him an exasperated sigh. "It's not really called that. It's a code name."

They both got out at 6th Ave., the man stomping off down Clement, the woman and her many things slowly shuffling up 6th.