Thursday, September 19, 2019

Bus Report #1042

This morning, some excitement while waiting for the bus.
I turned the corner and walked to the bus stop, and then noticed water, everywhere.
Water coursing down the street, but from where?
Just up ahead, by the middle school, a geyser of epic proportions. Water shot up from the ground, up to the second story of the building. Never ending. Like a waterfall, in the heart of the city.

There was a police car there already, not that the cop could do anything.
Several of us (me, a kid walking a dog, some folks from the gym) watched and marveled.

A firetruck roared down Arguello a moment later, screeched to a stop in front of the school.
The firefighters were head to toe in gear. At first they watched the water spurting from what looked like a damaged fire hydrant, and then two of them ducked into the water.
In the early morning light they looked shrouded in mist even as the water pounded down upon them.



Olga slowly crossed the street, leaning on her cane. We greeted each other in English, in Russian, and stared and pointed at the firefighters' progress. She said, "Is like riviera. River?"
"Yes," I agreed. "The San Francisco Riviera."
She laughed.

On the bus, the mom with the two sons sat with the kids in the front by the driver. The older boy jumped up and pointed at the unusual scene.

"Looks like a broken um, water thing," I said, rummaging in my bag for my Clipper Card.
"Hydrant?" he offered.
"Yeah, hydrant."

As we pulled away from the curb we all stared at the firefighters, still trying to shut off the water.

I hope they got it done, and that the school isn't drenched inside.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Bus Report #1041

Yesterday I caught the 33 with the Frenchman.
He said, "You were right, I think they changed the schedule."
"Yep, it's annoying," I replied as we got on the bus.
"I don't need to be at work at 7," he said.
"Me either, have a great day!" and we sat down and settled in for our commutes. It wasn't 7 when I got to work, luckily, but it was still early.

After work I ran errands before meeting up with some friends at Oasis Cafe on Divisadero. I caught the 24 on Castro and sat in the back, headphones on, sunglasses on.
A woman stomped onto the bus and sat behind me. I heard her say something loudly, couldn't figure out what it was. I took off my headphones and said, "I'm sorry, what's that?"
"EXCUSE ME DARLING THE TIME. WHAT IS THE TIME?"
I told her and put my headphones back on.
She proceeded to loudly talk at everyone else, gesticulating wildly, and yelled at the driver a few times. Everyone sat silently. Looked away from her. Aggressively looked away from her, if that's a thing.

I got out at Hayes and went to Rare Device, then walked the rest of the way to Oasis.


This morning the sky was a beautiful peach-orange-pink-grey-blue, an Ed Ruscha Los Angeles sky. I know what that means, we're in a heat wave.

No one at the bus stop when I arrived, but just before the bus turned the corner, Olga toddled up on her cane. We greeted each other in English and then I said good morning in my bad Russian.

We smiled and giggled at each other and I pointed to the bus. "You're right on time!"

I got out at my usual stop, said hi to the guys at the garage.

Got to work before the heat started.

Stay cool today, folks!


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Bus Report #1040

I dreamt last night that I was walking barefoot through a pile of used needles and other trash on my way to work. Luckily that is all it was. The sidewalks today were, for the most part, clean.

I walked down the street in the fog. Past our sleeping neighborhood homeless women. Past the closed-up corner store ("Gran re-opening Wed. 9/4, we miss you all!").
I goodmorninged the Recology guys and the owner of Toy Boat.

Waved and cooed at the baby who toddled down Clement clutching her family dog's leash. The dog was patient and walked slowly behind her. The baby's dad brought up the rear, sleepy, yawning.

The bus was later than I expected. I swear, they've redone the schedule without any warning. My early bus is now too early and the late one is five minutes away from being too late.

When the bus arrived I asked the driver. He wasn't sure about the schedule change but he was certain he was right on time.

The mom with the two boys got on the bus, only this time the little guy was not in a stroller, he was walking! He needed his mom and older brother to help him, but man. That's huge. I grinned and said good morning to them and watched the three of them find seats together in the front. Mom with her arm around the little one in the seat, the big brother facing his family. The little guy sat quietly the whole ride. This is going to be big for them, really big. They deserve it.

We cruised through the Haight and the Castro, barely stopping but for a couple of people.

I hopped out at my usual stop. Crossed the street with a couple other co-passengers. One of them works at the book donation center. He always speeds ahead of me but we get there around the same time. I don't know how it works.

At the corner, construction workers smoothed wet concrete to make a new bulb-out. I watched their work for a moment. It was mesmerizing. That concrete, so smooth. so, so smooth.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Bus Report #1039

School is back in session which means the teachers are back on the bus.

The Frenchman was at the bus stop this morning. New haircut, close shave, whiter than white button down shirt and a new backpack. We caught up on our summers, mine here, his in France.
After hearing about everything, I said, "Well, life is an adventure."
He laughed. "I forgot how you always say such American things. So optimistic!"
I had to laugh, too.
Today was his first day back at school. "Parents are already emailing me," he said, shaking his head. "And I have not even met them yet."

The giant genie is back, too. Still giant, still performing his hypnotic morning routine. Lotion, dandy comb, beard oil. Sugar substitute added to steaming coffee. Tupperware full of oatmeal for an on the go breakfast. As he got out at Mission, I noticed his nails are painted a lovely aquamarine.

I walked the rest of the way to work, skirting the construction on 16th.

Leon zoomed by in his 22 Fillmore bus and we waved to each other.

Have a good weekend, my friends.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Bus Report #1038

Last night I caught the 22 just as it was about to take off from our stop.
Whew. Thank you to our new driver! I appreciate it.

I sat in the back of the bus listening to a podcast and zoning out. Everyone else seemed to be doing the same. At Potrero a woman got on wearing an ankle-length dress slit all the way up to her upper thigh. Nice dress and nothing overly revealing, but the young man sitting beside me could not stop staring at her. She must've noticed: she tugged at the dress and pulled it closer. Thin black-line tattoos wrapped around her arms.

A few stops later, a familiar, fantastically dressed person got on and sat across from me.
It was Mister Fantastic! I haven't seen him in forever (a year? longer?). He was decked out in red. Red cardigan, red accessories, red socks, bright white sneakers. Flat rings on his fingers. Nicely trimmed beard and John Lennon round glasses, tinted.
As fashionable as ever.
I was glad to see him.

Another old friend: Last week I was on a 38R with Mister Polite. As we've been doing lately, we said hi and chatted a little, caught up. We got out at Park Presidio and walked together until we got to our street, where we went our separate ways. Still a lovely, polite gent.

The woman who drinks garlic tea on the 33 Ashbury in the mornings smiled at me today. I smiled back, I'm not going to be a jerk, but that garlic tea. That garlic tea. Would she agree to trade? I'll supply her with endless chamomile and mint tea. In perpetuity.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Bus Report #1037

Last night I had to get home to fix dinner for a couple friends who were on their way over.
And because I actually had to be somewhere, the 22 Fillmore was late.
Late enough I caught a 10 Townsend.
We hustled down Townsend until we got caught in the nightmare traffic that is always surrounding CalTrain. I turned the volume up on my headphones and made googly eyes at a cute toddler sitting a few rows up.

When we got out to Market I joined a crowd of people at the bus stop in front of Sutter Street Station.
A bus came in to our view and we all surged forward to see what it was, half of us then stepping back to let the others catch their 5R. A better kind of wave than you'd see at a ballpark.

The 38R was jammed when I got on. I managed to snare a spot where I could hang on to the pole.
More and more people piled in, or tried to.
Our driver skipped three stops but it didn't make a difference.

A sweaty, back-packed man stood pressed up against my side. His body was so warm, I could feel his heat through my jacket. 

One woman could easily have grasped the pole right in front of her but she kept trying to grab mine, her arm knocking into a man's head each time she tried.
I had the overwhelming urge to sink my teeth into her forearm.

Luckily for everyone, I did not.

At Laguna a bunch of folks got out and I slid in to a seat opposite the door.
The emergency exit window behind us was open and flapping. I didn't mind the breeze but a well-coiffed woman in a business suit was concerned and she and her seatmate kept grabbing at the red handle and trying to shut the window. "I'll tell the driver when I get out," the woman said.
I hoped she didn't - I just needed to get home. Yeah, I was being a bad citizen, but I have no regrets.

The bus remained crowded the rest of my commute. I hopped out at my stop and took a few deep breaths of the cold, foggy air.

Half an hour later, our dinner was in the oven, the table was set, and the music was on.
The guests? Running late. Thanks to Muni.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Bus Report #1036

And with that, there goes summer 2019.
I can't say I've been busy doing anything too exciting or crazy.
A couple trips out of town, two writing workshops, visited family.

And Muni? Well, the buses keep arriving early, or most likely late.

Beautiful F Market streetcars rattle down Market. If you've been lucky, you've caught sight of my favorite, the boat tram, spruced up and on display for the summer season.

Leon is back on my morning route and when he sees me walking he honks and leans out the window to wave and call out his good mornings. I wave back, even if my hands are full, and smile.
Leon is one of the good guys.

In the afternoons I don't see Keith anymore, instead the new 22 Fillmore driver is a man I'll call Markus. He looked so familiar to me when I first saw him, so familiar, and I realized he used to be our DHL delivery guy. A decade ago.

After not seeing Mauricio for three months I spotted him in the Mission the other day. He was going in the other direction but I waved and he grinned. I guess he got a new job. Good for him.

Waiting for the 33 in the morning with the woman who works at the hospital a few days back. We talked for a few minutes, and it turns out we're both from back East, and her aunt used to live on the same street as my sister. Small world. "Where's that French teacher?" she asked, and I said he was still on vacation. His school doesn't start up again yet.

The mom with the two sons was on my bus last week. First day of school for the older boy, still sweet to his mom, but taller and more grown up. New school uniform and haircut. His little brother sat quietly in his stroller, staring into space as he does.