Yesterday, the Fourth of July, I took the 33 Ashbury from the Richmond all the way down to 24th and Potrero, to go to C's for a barbecue.
The bus arrived and I got on, balancing my freshly baked blueberry bars in their carrier on my lap.
We sped down Arguello, and then down Fulton to Stanyan, slowing down in the Haight to pick up a few passengers.
It had been a while since I'd been in the Haight after 7 AM and it was its usual raucous, vibrant self. Many tourists in their shorts and sandals, Upper Haight street rats with their backpacks and their dogs.
Twin Peaks was sunny with a layer of fog hanging just below the sun. It isn't the 4th without you, Karl!
Further down the route we turned at 16th and Potrero and headed down Potrero.
A man from the back of the bus hollered, "Hey, I wanted that stop!"
The driver said, "You didn't signal for it, so you'll have to wait for the next one."
"What? I was tying my shoe, can't you please just let me out?"
The driver glanced at him in the mirror. "I'll let you out at the next stop. You gotta signal next time."
The man stood up and walked up to the door. "Man! You must really hate your job and really hate your life, you can't stop and let me out!"
The driver looked at him again. "I love my job and I love my life. You can get out in a minute."
The man shook his head. "All right, I guess I'll be walking. That's okay, I got my phone, gonna take some pictures."
He finally got out at the next stop, taking his sweet time to curse out our driver a bit more before he actually stepped out of the bus.
Once he was out the door, the driver said, "Can you believe that guy?"
I said, "Well you know, he was tying his shoe, so he didn't have time to ring the bell."
The four of us left on the bus all laughed. One elderly woman sitting near the front of the bus smiled at me and said, "He needs some of those Velcro shoes, maybe."
When we got to my stop, I wished everyone a good holiday and told the driver not to let jerks like that guy ruin her day.
"Oh, he won't ruin my anything," she said. "You take care."
Hours later, I waited for the bus home in a bus stop that reeked of old piss.
Several people were passed out on either side of the bus shelter. One man spent a good five minutes adjusting himself, and scratching his chest, before sharing a cigarette with a woman who staggered over from across the street.
The bus soon arrived and I got on. At the next stop, a man lurched up the stairs and slid in to the seat behind me. He immediately began arguing with himself, but directed it at the man sitting across from him.
When that man got out the bus at the Potrero Center, the arguing man turned his attention to me. He leaned over the back of my seat and yelled nonsense at me for a while. It was frightening - the tone of his voice was very aggressive and he was twitchy, with sudden flailing movements. More than once he lunged forward, trying to get my attention. He would also step into the stair well and poke his head out the door and look around, and then get back on the bus.
He reminded me of someone who frightened me as a child, a man in my old neighborhood who we called "The Barking Man."
Except that this guy actually seemed dangerous.
The driver eventually put him off the bus when he started yelling at a couple of elderly riders, but really, he should have been put off long before that.
A woman sat beside me and began pulling potatoes out of her bag one by one, inspecting them carefully. They looked like regular potatoes to me, but I'm no expert.
Bi-Rite and Tartine were packed with customers and Dolores park was a sea of people enjoying the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
In the Haight, people got their photos taken on the corner of Haight and Ashbury.
By then, the fog was starting to roll back in for the evening.
I got home just as the wind picked up and the fog enveloped my neighborhood.