Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bus Report #947

I took the 2 Clement home this afternoon from downtown.
Even though I caught it at the last/first stop, there was still a bicycle attached to the front - forgotten, I suppose.

Hours later I was on the same 2 Clement heading back downtown to meet up with friends.
Same silent driver, same bicycle just waiting for its owner to come get it.

A man got on at 6th Ave. and went straight to the back of the bus with his armfuls of stuff.
He spent the rest of his ride throwing books all over the back of the bus, across all of the unoccupied seats. He also opened all of the windows, and then closed some of them only to reopen moments later.
His twitchy nature was making me feel twitchy, too.

Our driver. What can I say? There was something up with him.
He would not answer the woman who asked to be let out near Steiner with her granddaughter.
He would not even acknowledge that the bus stopped there. Luckily, an elderly couple sitting at the front of the bus gave her directions.

At Laguna the 2 Clement turns and runs on Post Street instead of Sutter - or at least, it is supposed to.
Our driver shot through the intersection at Laguna and kept going.

"Hey, man," I said, but then realized the futility of it all. He was not paying attention to anyone.
He drove two blocks down Sutter, much to everyone's confusion.
Then he turned onto (I think, it was dark) Gough and then flipped back to Post.

By the time we got to my stop he had completely disengaged from his passengers. He did not look at anyone or acknowledge us in the least.

I stepped out into the rain (and how much do we love the rain, drought-stricken as we are) and headed up the hill to the bar, where a smoky scotch awaited me.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bus Report #946

This morning was a "Ms. Rachel's Neighborhood" kind of day.

On the way to the bus I ran in to Ruben, our Recology guy, and we waved to each other as we always do.

I walked past the shtetl scholar's block but didn't see him - but then just as I was walking away he tore out of his apartment and we caught up for a moment at the corner. Wished each other a good day and he hurried off.

Our bus driver was the friendly guy who reminds me of Jason. We said hi and I asked him how his weekend was (it was good, and relaxing) and then we were off.

Hi to the two women who get on at Stanyan and Hayes.

Hi to the woman who works in my building, who gets on at Hattie.

Hi to the friendly guy who gets on at Castro.

Walking from the bus stop to work, I greeted the younger guy at the garage and exchanged Thanksgiving wishes.

The woman who always waits for the 10 by SWAT? Yeah, we chatted, too.

Hope everyone has a grand weekend.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bus Report #945

A beautifully foggy morning today.
I walked down the street and, as happens these days, crossed paths with the shtetl scholar.
We exchanged reports on our respective weekends - he went hiking, I socialized, wrote, and cooked.
"What did you make?" he asked, listening with his eyes as he does.
I told him it was all comfort food; apple sauce for days, chicken pie.
"Sounds delicious," he said.
"Have a great day, enjoy this fog," I said.
"Oh, I will. I love the fog. I miss it when it isn't here," he replied.
Me too, shtetl scholar, me, too.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Bus Report #944

If I'd been able to sleep at all last night, I'd have called in sick and stayed in bed all day today.
But no - instead I spent the night, not counting sheep, but counting nightmares.

Got up, numb, showered, numb, made tea I did not want to drink and listened to NPR tell me things I did not want to hear.

Walking to the bus I saw our friendly shtetl scholar. Today he had added a neon yellow safety vest to his outfit, and I saw, to my surprise, that the vest and his hat had the Muni logo on them.

We stopped on the sidewalk to greet each other - but neither of us said 'good' before saying 'morning'.

"You doing okay today?" I asked him.
He looked at me with such concern in his eyes. "I am, I am. What about you?"
I shrugged. Knew if I said too much, I'd start to cry.
He nodded. He earnestly quoted some poetry but I don't know the poet, but it was something about carrying on, and it was nice.
"We'll be okay because we have no choice," he said.
I agreed.
We parted ways.
I am glad to know the shtetl scholar - and somehow gladder still to know that he works for Muni.

Take care of yourselves today, everyone.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Bus Report #943

This morning, as I do many mornings, I passed a man who looks like he time traveled into my neighborhood from a long-ago Russian shtetl - even his hat seems out of place. He could be a scholar or a farmer, with his scraggly beard, and that timeless cap.
We greeted each other as we always do.
"Did you vote yet?" he asked, as he scurried by.
"After work," I told him. "You?"
"After work, too," he confirmed.

In the Haight, a bald man stood on the corner of Clayton and Haight, standing perfectly still in a strapless, gold sequined gown. Performance art? Fashion statement? Drug-addled seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time decision? I will never know. Pretty dress, though.

The bus climbed up the hill and when we rounded the corner of Clayton and Market, the whole city looked golden below us. Light glinted off of the tall buildings downtown and the homes that cascade down the hill were all covered in that blinding yellow-white.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bus Report #942

Once again, people surprise me. Or perhaps it is just that I'm a cynical and jaded jerk.

I took the bus back to work from the Potrero Center this afternoon.
The other folks waiting for the bus were friendly and chatty. Pleasant.

When the 22 arrived, the driver was a familiar one. He grinned, said, "What are you doing here?"
"Just taking a break," I replied, "If that's okay."
"I'll allow it," he said.

There was a slightly creepy guy hunched over his battered suitcase, quietly cursing to himself. Dirty, wild hair, feet splayed out into the aisle, suitcase blocking the way.

Two moms and their babies sat in the front of the bus, the babies babbling and grabbing, the moms softly speaking with them.

When the bus got to De Haro, one of the moms struggled to get her stroller out the back door. The creepy guy jumped up and grabbed the front of the stroller to help her lift it down.
"Hold up, hold up, driver," he said, "we got a stroller coming out."

A few stops later, the other mom, a young girl with her sweet baby strapped to her chest, a huge stroller in tow, needed to get out of the bus. Again, the guy hopped up and helped her out, and then once she was out, he picked up a fallen baby toy and handed it back to her.

I held the door for him so he could get back in.

He was a good man, not creepy at all. I wondered if he had kids, or grand kids.

I hope he has a great weekend.

Bus Report #941

This morning the bus pulled up right on time, and I got on.
The driver had been waving and honking at the driver of the 2 Clement, the two of them trading honks and grins as they passed each other.
"You're always so cheery in the morning, I really appreciate it," I told him as we did our usual "good mornings/how are yous."
Another regular, a woman who I think is a construction worker, chimed in, "I know, I appreciate it too, it really makes my morning before my coffee's even kicked in yet."
The driver just smiled at us and continued along our route.

I haven't mentioned him lately, but the giant genie has been on the bus a lot recently.
He was gone most of the summer but as soon as school started, he was back. Imagine if he were your teacher! I like to think his students are really young, and that to them, he is truly a giant.

His beard maintenance routine continues to mesmerize me. This morning he applied his beard balm, and then combed and combed and combed. He combed his eyebrows, too, and then squirted some lotion on his hands and moisturized his hands and then his head. I could watch him all day.
Maybe he should make YouTube videos!

Last night my 22 Fillmore driver grinned as I got on and said, "Here she is! Right on time!" He's funny, and friendly. I don't remember him from before but he seems to know me from the route, from years ago. "You've been catching an earlier bus, haven't you?" he asked me, when I first noticed him several months ago.

In the back of the bus sat the Roche Bobois guy. We always say hi to each other, even if it's just a quick head nod of acknowledgement.

Later, on the 38, a polite kid with a backpack and extra sneakers dangling from his hand had to squish close to me to let people off and then on the bus.
"I'm sorry," he said, as he pushed against my shoulder.
"No worries," I told him. "Nothing we can do about it."

The 38 let me out at 6th and I walked home. An elderly woman I often see in the mornings walked by. We always chat a moment as we pass each other at 7th and Clement.
"Hi," I said, and she stopped walking and held out her hand.
"I'm Joan," she said.
"Rachel, nice to meet you," I replied.
"Nice to officially meet you, too," she said.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bus Report #940

The 33 was late this morning. Not five minutes late, not ten. Twenty five minutes late.

I was annoyed and every time a 33 whooshed by in the opposite direction I thought, finally, this guy will turn around in a few minutes. But no. Late, late, late.

Finally, I saw our friendly driver, the one who looks like Jason, the original headphones guy.
As he passed by my stop, he leaned all the way out the window and hollered, "Can you believe it, I broke down this morning! That's why I'm so behind!"
He smiled and shook his head.

"Aw, man," I yelled back. "That sucks!"

A few minutes later, a different driver picked me up. He said, "Hey, good morning to you."

I couldn't really be mad any more. They were doing their best - which is hard to do when the electric buses get stacked up behind an out of service vehicle.

The bus was full the entire commute, people from what would have been my bus and other buses in between.

I got out at my usual stop and waved goodbye to the driver. As I crossed 16th Street, I could see another 33 pull up right behind him.