Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bus Report #18

As seen from the 22 Fillmore yesterday:

-Bumper Sticker: Horses- (Hor'ses)- See: Awesome!
-Accident: Car into car into car into bicycle, Guerrero and 16th,  no injuries as far as my seatmate and I could tell.
-The sleepy Chinese girl and her mom now say hello and goodbye to me when they see me on the bus.
-Doctor Bombay's is now a trendy bar called Cama, and Sugarpuss, a store no one ever went to, is closing.
-Trashy old Oak Street neighbors, still sitting out front their apartment, drinking 40's and smoking.
-New Hayes and Fillmore Hair Braiding Salon is now open.
-The kids on the bus were talking about the time they made the Teacher, who lives on Oak, cry and run from her classroom. She is always so nice and friendly on the bus, I wanted to throttle the kids. The girl said, "Imagine seventh graders making a TEACHER cry."
To which the boy just laughed. Oh, that poor Teacher.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

As seen on lamp post, 16th and Potrero

I was walking to work from the bus stop when I saw a for rent sign posted on a lamp post. Like any good San Franciscan worth her salt, I read the ad. I mean, bigger and better and onward and upward, right? This ad was in Spanish.
Se Renta un Estudio. Spanglish for: Studio for Rent
They listed all the amenities (not many) and went on to describe that the place was situated near un parque y un suimin pool. I thought, that's a new word, suimin. Suimin. Suimin. OH, I GOT IT, SWIMMING! Located near a SWIMMING pool! Otherwise known as una piscina. So I learned a new Spanglish word today.

For more Spanglish fun, check out Ilan Stavans's book on Spanglish. Or, a very funny Spanglish Dictionary out of Miami, which I believe is simply called Spanglish.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Mango, not on a stick, and it's not even Carnaval!

Post-This American Brunch we went down to the Mission yesterday. From the car window, The Teacher's Pet and I spotted a man with a pushcart, and a sign on the side of the cart said MANGOS. Well, it did not take a genious to figure out what he was selling. After parking the car we (very quickly) went to his cart and bought a sack of mango covered in lime juice, chili powder and salt. He gave us a bunch of toothpicks to pick up our sticky sweet sour and spicy snack. It was delicious. I hope that guy will be there next time I'm in the Mission...

Friday, July 23, 2004

Random Bus Moments

A week's worth of randomness...

Drunk man talking to me about getting his car broken into, 33 Stanyan Line

Man picking a fight with the (in) famous bus driver, and threatening him ("You'll be seeing me again, sir."), 22 Fillmore Line

Woman with sausage curls, even her bangs, reading Sherman Alexie, 22 Fillmore Line

Man sitting on a molded plastic chair, using a Richmond District pay phone on a street corner, 3 times this week already.

Sleepy Chinese girl who wouldn't wake up when she and her mom got to their stop, 38 Line.

Drunk man #2, who smelled like he'd taken a bath in Robitussin, glazed eyes and heavy heavy limbs, accidentally kept falling asleep against my shoulder. So I kept shrugging him off, coughing loudly, pushing him.

The neck tattoo guy who gets on at Harrison smiled at me on Monday.

A girl with a toaster took up two seats, one for herself and one for the toaster.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Power to the people

Last night the power went off in our neighborhood. It was dusk and we could still see a little bit, even better after I pulled up the shades. I lit the few candles I could find in the apartment, two tiny votives and my Red Sox prayer candle. Found the flashlight.
Out on the landing, the rest of the building was talking about the power outage. Neighbor #2 was in a flannel nightgown, numbers #3 and #4 in sweats and flip flops. Landlord came over to disable an alarm that was beeping every couple of seconds. Miss K. needed a battery for her alarm clock so I went out to see what I could see, armed with my keys, some cash and my mag light. I was of course, also wearing flip flops. And no belt.
At the corner store, which is rarely open, the woman showed me the battery selection. A couple of packs of double As in a locked case next to old, dusty packets of condoms and razor blades. No, thank you. Further down the street, people were hanging out in front of dark restaurants. Kids ran in and out of stores, and everything felt slow, and quiet and nice. Walgreen's had batteries and power. The pizza place and chinese restaurant had candles and I could hear people talking inside while the waitstaff smoked cigarettes out front. In the Donut shop, (they had electricity) I bought a hot chocolate. They had one of those hot cocoa machines. I haven't seen one of those in years.
Back at home, I trained the mag light on my book and read in the dark on the couch. When the power came back on, I let out a cheer. Miss K. and I reset all the clocks and settled back into our normal evening routines (sleep for her, too much caffeine, television, reading and thinking for me).
While sitting in the dark, I couldn't help but think of my last power outage, back in January. I was on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, and every night the power would cut out around nine or ten at night, or earlier. Out would come the candles and flashlights. we would sit on the dark porch of the restaurant or bar we were in and talk, drink beer, look at the stars. Life went on. People walked down the streets and hung out laundry. they talked with their friends, listened to battery powered Radios, flirted in the park near the market with the girls basketball teams who were in town for the national championships. Street dogs would still sneak into our rooms.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Invasion of the Family Campers

I got a call from the brother on Wednesday, let's call him the Professor. He was supposed to be camping in Yosemite with Cousin #1 and the Roommate, but due to fires near the campsite they decided to come up and visit me instead. It has been fun, and crazy, and they will be the death of me one of these days. And boy can those three eat. The Professor and Cousin #1 are the skinniest boys I know and yet they can pack it away like nobody's business. The Roommate, well, she is even smaller than they are but she could win a pie eating contest against them, no doubt.
Something is up with MUNI today. The bus was late and when it did arrive it was only going to Bryant Street. We all had to transfer to what they call 'motor coaches'. These are the gas guzzling busses that have the accordion fold in the middle and plenty of room for everyone. I guess on a good day I'd call the 'motor coach' a little slice of heaven.
We soon found out why we were re-rerouted onto the other busses. The intersection right next to my building was roped off, PG&E and MUNI people were all there, and cranes and yellow caution tape... and the electricity poles were all leaning in towards the street, as if someone had pushed one and it had dominoed all the others. Of course, my first reaction was: Is it going to be like this all day, will I be able to get home, what if I want to take a walk or get a sandwich?
But it is still early and I'll probably hide inside for a while.
The family leaves for Northern climes today. If you see them, say hello.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bus Report #16

The bus was very stuffy today, and I was the only person who bothered opening the window. I noticed that the plexiglass partition i was sitting at was covered in vaseline or hairgel or something, so i made sure to lean as far away from it as possible.
I missed the 22 by about 30 seconds and had to wait at the empty stop in front of the Fillmore, the only other person nearby was (one of the many) crazy high on something red glistening eye guys that love to hang out at the bus stops along the 22 line. I stood as far away from him as I could.
When the next bus came, it was the (in)famous bus driver, the nice guy who the kids attacked a few months back. As usual, he did his route slowly, made everyone enter through the front, turned away the kids without fares.
A girl got on who was wearing the thickest glasses I've ever seen in the US, holding the hand of a toddler who wore coke bottle glasses even thicker than her mom's. no one stood up for them and gave them a seat. Daughter of an optometrist as I am, I wondered what was wrong with their vision.


What is this?

I don't have a pager, cell phone, fancy cable or fancy internet. I don't even have a drivers license.

But now I have a blog.


Expect stories about my commute, things I see while wandering our fair city, reviews, snide and cynical comments and day-to-day traumas.

Nothing yet today, however.