Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Bus Report #989

This morning, quiet on the 33.
When we got to Castro and 18th, I could see flashing lights up ahead. More than one set. Uh oh.
We drove slowly down the street. At Church and 18th, the corner closest to Dolores Park was taped off with yellow CAUTION tape, and there were several emergency vehicles and first responders clustered around someone who was flat on their back on the sidewalk.
The paramedics were doing chest compressions on the person, cops milling around, rubberneckers standing right up against the tape.
I hoped the person would be okay. It was scary to watch.

In the front of our bus, most people were face down in their phones, oblivious.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Bus Report #988

The bus was late or early today, depending on which bus you were waiting for. I was waiting for my usual, which was on time, but a handful of other semi-regulars had been waiting for the earlier bus, which was a no show.
I smiled, nodded at the nurse and at the axe body spray guy.
We got on and our bus sailed off down Arguello.

Haight Street was emptier than I've ever seen it, except for a flock of birds eating a huge mound of compost near Whole Foods. Not a person in sight.

Later, somewhere between 16th and Mission and my stop, a homeless man in the front of the bus carefully put on a wool cap, and then a turquoise baseball hat over it, and then a beige baseball hat over that.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Bus Report #987

Odds and ends.

Last night, on the 10 Townsend:

A woman reading The Marriage Plot - I wanted to intervention her right then and there, but she only had a few pages left, so I didn't. I wanted to implore her to read anything else - especially anything else by Eugenides. Despite my deep dislike of the book, I still wanted to dissect the story and characters with her. She got out by Caltrain. An older woman carrying a beautiful bouquet of orange flowers took her seat.

We passed a cafe on 2nd Street that I thought offered enigmatic coffee, but it turned out I'd just read the sign wrong. It served organic coffee.

This morning a creepy guy got on my 33 at Castro. He stood in the doorway and stared at the driver, then shrugged his shoulders as if to say, I am riding this bus, even though I don't have bus fare. The driver let him on.

He planted himself in the aisle, hovering above my seat and the seat behind me. It was unnerving. He chewed ice cubes from a plastic cup, and stared at me and the people behind me.

I tightened my grip on my bag. I did that thing you do (because public transit riders do this, don't we?) where you put on your ugliest, most disinterested face. I squished against the window and tried to make myself disappear.

Of course, he decided to sit next to me, still shaking ice cubes into his mouth, and hunching forward, and occasionally shooting a glance over at me. I watched him out of the corner of my eye. If he tried anything - made a grab for my bag, or touched me - I was ready to give him hell.

He lurched forward, sideways. He ate more ice cubes. At Mission Street he thrust his hand out, his fingers grazing my arm, and then he hopped off the bus. Ugh.

When I got off the bus and crossed the street, I ran in to Frank from the garage. We chatted for a minute, the usual pleasantries, and how's your summer going, and the conversation fixed me right up. Creepy creeper on the bus, completely sloughed off.

A few blocks later, a 22 Fillmore sailed past me as I walked to work. The Roche Bobois guy sat in a window seat, and we waved at each other.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Bus Report #986

Clement Street has gone to the birds, again.

The neighborhood crows shriek like insane babies. They strut down the street, or chase the seagulls, or they stare at me from their perches atop recycle bins and storefront awnings.

The seagulls shout back. They're out of their element away from the water, but food is food and they fight the crows, the pigeons, the little black birds for the compost and trash strewn around the street.

There are young pigeons, too. Newly hatched with perfectly intact, bright red feet. fluffy feathers on their heads where you can still sometimes see a pinfeather or two. They are unafraid of me as I walk to the bus stop. They haven't learned to fear people yet.

Near the bus stop someone has put out a bag of old clothes. For Goodwill? For recycling or trash? Because it's all trash now. A man empties the bag onto the sidewalk and begins sorting through it. I don't think any of the old cardigans and thigh-high boots will fit him. None of my business, though.

The bus arrives on time, our humorless new driver almost - ALMOST! cracking a smile.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bus Report #985

This morning as we began to make the hair-pin turn onto Market Street, the sun was a white-gold spot popping through thick bands of grey fog.

Summer time and my commutes have been... uneventful.

They've been busy, and crowded, annoying at times, but for the most part, a snooze-fest.

Last night on the 38R, I sat facing a cute blonde couple. They chatted and laughed for the duration of the ride, eyes only for each other.

I had a series of quiet, stoic seatmates - young women in college sweatshirts, all of them sitting statue-still. No fumbling with phones. No nothing.

Two different, heavily bearded men with bright red eyes. One of them had a CITY YEAR patch on his backpack. I thought of my sister back when she did CITY YEAR. Just out of high school with no idea what she was doing with her life. Oversized jacket, khakis, heavy work boots. She loved it all. And now? She's the best of us.

Van Ness and Geary. Raucous shouting and laughing outside. I was not the only passenger looking around to see what was happening. Two women in stretched-out off-the-shoulder shirts and busted-up heels grabbed at each other's arms and laughed, both smiling as they stumbled down the block.

At Fillmore our bus emptied out. Someone jammed the back door - the driver had to get out of the bus and walk back to fix it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bus Report #984

Summer time, which means so many of the Muni regulars are on vacation.
The rest of us greet each other sleepily in the mornings, and, I suppose, sleepily in the evenings.
The dad with the extra adorable toddler.
The pretty older woman with the dark sunglasses.
Mauricio, who always saves me a seat, or waves to me if my bus passes him at 16th and Mission.
The woman who is always running to catch her 38R. Yesterday morning, she told me, as she ran past, that she hasn't missed her bus in weeks.
The big guy who sits sprawled out in an aisle seat on the 22 in the afternoons, who won't look me in the face but who always makes room for me to take the window seat.
The nurse who works at St. Mary's, who is only on my 33 when she's running late.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bus Report #983

Yesterday morning a man got on our 33, swinging three backpacks and juggling several cans of soup in his arms. He sat down in the front of the bus and rolled the soups between his hands, mumbling all the while,  for the duration of his ride.

He stumbled from the bus in the Upper Haight, and in doing so dropped one of his backpacks on the bus. He started walking away, and the driver shut the door, so I said, "excuse me, driver, his backpack's still here."
She opened the door and I called over to him. "Sir, your backpack, do you want me to throw it over to you?"
He looked confused, smiled and then shrugged. "No."
"You don't want your backpack? Are you sure?"
"No, no." And he walked away.

In the mirror, the driver and I exchanged glances, both of us confused and wary at the same time.
"Do you want me to throw it off the bus or something?" I asked her.
She shook her head. "Leave it. Someone else will do something with it along the route."
Well, okay.

For the rest of the ride, people stepped around the backpack, or stared at it, or tried to locate its owner sitting elsewhere on the bus. It was old and raggedy, obviously a second or third hand backpack. But it had belonged to the man just a few minutes earlier.

When it was my turn to get out, the bag was still there.