Chatty, happy people on the 22 Fillmore this afternoon - unusual.
My first seatmate was a tall older man (he would later tell me he was 51) in shorts and a T-shirt. He had just gotten some free acupuncture at the Chinese medicine school up on the hill.
He needed to talk, so I let him.
He grew up in San Francisco and was currently staying with an elderly relative out by the zoo.
"Did you know the Zoo is free once a month?" he told me. "Sometimes I like to just go and see the animals."
"Just swing through and say hey, huh?" I replied.
He got nostalgic, telling me about his Inner Sunset elementary school days, the lumpy oatmeal his dad made, the powdered milk his mother reconstituted and served.
He got up and shouldered his fanny pack and stepped out of the bus at Mission and 16th.
My new seatmate was a stocky kid, 22 years old at the most. He had a 49ers jacket and matching hat, a scraggly beard, jeans. He had a folder that he held in both hands. If it wasn't for his round cheeks, he could have been tough.
He looked at me - the kind of barely sneaky sideways glance that says: I'm checking you out. I'm checking out out but I'm trying to be cool about it.
He said, "Hey, I like your pins."
I've got three small buttons on the left side of my jacket right now: one from City Lights, a vintage Clash pin, and a pin that the Teacher's Pet gave me that says WRITER.
"Thanks," I said.
He gestured at my City Lights button. "You work at the bookstore?" he asked.
"Nope, I just like the place," I said.
He put the folder down on his lap and held out his hand. "I'm Fredo," he said.
I shook it. "Rachel."
"I asked about the store cause I'm looking for a job," he said. "So I thought, maybe you knew if they were hiring."
We talked a little about how hard it is to find full time retail work these days. He had a line on a job, an interview set up for tomorrow.
I wished him luck.
"So, what are you doing right now?" he asked.
"Oh, I work in an office," I said.
"No, I mean, like right now. You want to get something to eat with me? I'm thinking of grabbing some pizza."
Oh, Fredo buddy. A nice kid, but no.
I told him I was on my way somewhere.
He asked for my number, but I declined. He offered his number.
"Or is it like, you like chicks?" he asked.
Not into chicks, I told him.
We chatted a bit more and then we got to his stop. "Maybe I'll see you around," he said, shaking my hand again.
"Maybe," I said. "Good luck with the job interview."
He was sweet, I hope he gets the job he wants.
A few stops later, two dads got on with their kids. One dad had a little boy, a smiley kid who was so cute that even the humorless man standing by the back door had to grin and wave to the boy. The other dad, an older guy, sat down while his pretty tween daughter leaned on his shoulder and teased him about his hat.
They were lovely, the dads and their kids.
A toothless drunk man swayed in the aisle but it was okay - he smiled at the kids, said "excuse me" when he bumped in to people, and eventually slouched into a seat in the back of the bus.
I got out at my usual stop, a little perplexed at the amount of good citizenship and good cheer on the 22 Fillmore, on a Monday afternoon.