Thursday, January 27, 2005

Coffee Coffee Coffee

Today was a difficult one, but in the end it was pretty good. I took the 1 California up to Laurel Heights to go to the new Cuban café, Café lo Cubano. It was well worth it. Not only was I able to get a nice cafecito but the guy there saw my red sox buttons and launched into a fairly incomprehensible yet thoroughly heartfelt Red Sox story. Sweet. I got nice caffeine high from the coffee and virtually floated home. The accordion player was out front the bank singing ‘home on the range’. When I hit Green Apple the rain started to come down. I skipped home, darting under all the awnings. Kept my hand over the loaf of bread I got at the Cal Mart (it was peeking out of my shopping back getting wet)
Go get yourself a cafecito. You won’t be sad.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Bus Report #40

The big 40. Whoa!

The bus report would like to thank all it's loyal readers, as well as all the MUNI drivers and passengers who make the daily commute so damn memorable.

now, down to business.

the other day, while waiting for the 22 to take me to the Mission for my ride to the Sierras, I saw a woman suddenly jump up from her seat on the bench in the bus shelter and madly start patting down a man standing nearby. of course, everyone watched to see what was going on.
she said, "I saw you have my wallet! give me my wallet!"
the man was silent, but a moment later I noticed him drop something and cover it with his foot. then he kicked it under the bench. it was her wallet.
so I yelled out, "he kicked it under the bench!"
She scrambled for the wallet and he started ambling away, unruffled.
It was disgusting that no one else bothered to help, or flag down a cop or anything.
The woman came up to me and thanked me, and I told her she was more than welcome.
Then the bus came and off we went.
Now I'm on the lookout for that pickpocket.

This morning there was a problem with the electric lines that the 22 runs on. instead of running the diesel busses for a couple hours, they ran the electric ones anyway, which resulted in late, crowded and mislabeled busses. I got on one that promised a last stop at Kansas and 17th, when really it stopped at 16th and Valencia. with no other busses in sight, we were urged to walk to Mission and take a 33.

Instead, a herd of us chose to walk.

I walked from Valencia to Bryant and caught the second of 2 packed back to back busses. The driver was the shaved head driver so I did not have to show my pass.
So, half the herd took the lead bus and the rest of us the second. Four stops later, the lead bus kicked everyone off and they got on our bus.
Which means some people on the route had at least 3 22 Fillmore busses this morning.
All told, a 30 minute commute from Geary took us 45, with the fastest leg of the trip being the power walk we had.
At least I got to walk past the "Lillypadhouse, will you marry me?" sign.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Bus Report #39

Crowded 22 last night. I sat in the rear of the bus, next to a guy who wouldn't move his legs, so I really had to squish.
The kid sitting behind me was talking quite loudly on his cell, to a girlfriend. Apparently the girlfriend was "witholding certain things" from him and he thought it merited some "more conversating." He went on to say that he "wasn't tripping over it because when it finally happens it'll be real good."
It was funny to listen to. Wondered what the girlfriend would think if she knew the whole back of the 22 now knew more than we ever wanted to about her relationship.
Ben was standing in the front of the bus but before I could say hi or anything, we got to Mission which was my stop. I was meeting cousin D. for dinner.
We met up at Abandoned Planet Books and went around to Herbivore for dinner since he's a vegan. We had a great meal and caught up on the past year or so since we last saw each other.
D. will go far in this world, I can tell.
My second 22 of the night, a few hours later, was full of drunks and extremely creepy people who most likely were my old Oak Street neighbors.
And regular people, too.
Guy sitting next to me reading religious themed Spanish newspaper.
Trannys with five o'clock shadow and hair that could use a comb.
Sleepy kids.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


I was wearing this necklace I have that has a hummingbird on it, and when I went for a coffee at Atlas on Sunday afternoon, the girl behind the counter smiled and said, "I like your necklace."
Here's a transcript of the rest of our conversation:
Rachel: Thanks.
Girl: I love Hummingbirds.
R: Me, too.
G: I found a dead one once right in the middle of the sidewalk.
R: That's so sad.
G: Yeah, it looked fine, just dead, like natural causes and stuff. So I took it home and put it in my freezer.
R: What were you going to do with it? Taxidermy?
G: Yeah, maybe, but I didn't do anything with it and it got frostbitten so I had to get rid of it. Buried it outside.

Frostbitten hummingbird. What an image.

Bus Report #38

Since yesterday was MLK Day, the bus wasn't too crowded. The couple sitting behind me loudly talked about their love, their dogs and school.
I had a steady stream of young, headphones wearing kids sitting next to me, about one every three stops or so. I saw Ben (smile, nod, wave), I saw British-look-funny-walk-guy and a friend of M. and C.'s who I hadn't seen in a while.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sunday Bus Report

On my way to M. and M.'s house for a lovely brunch yesterday, I ended up on a pleasantly empty 22. It was the friendly shaved-head driver and as we were nearing Farley's, he looked back into the bus. At this point I was the only rider. I said, "It's just me!"
and he said, "You working today?"
"No way," I said. "Just going to my friend's house."
"Ah," he said. "For a moment there I was confused, thought it was Monday."

It was funny. I got off the bus and grabbed a coffee at Farley's (for anyone wondering, yes, I am still only drinking decaf coffee) then climbed up the hill to M. and M.'s. They set out a lovely brunch for me and The Teacher's Pet, which was lingered over for hours.

Later on, when I got home, I was seized with some ideas and wrote for several hours.
Anyone know where I can see a photo of the inside of the Middle East Nightclub in Central Square (Cambridge, MA)? The story is set there and I don't remember what the basement looks like.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Bus Report #37

While waiting for the 38 this morning, still swollen-eyed-wet-haired-stunned-awake-and-cold, someone standing behind me at the bus stop said, "Hi,"
I turned around and it was this girl I see all the time, who usually rides the 22 from Potrero Hill with me. I turned off my walkman and asked her what she was doing in the Richmond.
She gestured toward the corner and said, "that's my block."
I grinned and gestured in the opposite direction, same street, and said, "that's my block."
It was funny, two people who live on the same street in the Richmond (different sides of Geary, but so what?) and work on two different sides of the street all the way across town in Potrero Hill.
We chatted a little bit, then when it became apparent that the bus was not coming, she hopped into a cab.

The bus arrived 10 minutes later.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bus Report #36

Well, after the crazy commute the other day, yesterday's was a breeze. Saw J. on the 22 in the morning, and we chatted a little. It was my favorite driver, too (yes, the (in) famous driver.)

On the return trip, I had a choice of sitting next to a very smelly and creepy homeless guy or a slightly less smelly guy with a bouquet of daisies. I chose the guy with the daisies.

I zoned out once we got going and did not notice that Rocking-out-on-his-headphones-guy was standing right in front of me.
So I tugged on his back pack and said "Hi."
He took off his headphones and smiled, asked me how my day was. He has a slight twang to his voice but I couldn't tell if it was Southern or Californian.
And since my day had been pretty good (mostly spent on a translation, which is one of my ideal things to do and get paid for) I said it had been good.
He said his day had been long.
I asked what his name was and we shook and he told me his name. So we will now call him Ben.
He works relatively nearby to where I do.
Then we were at his stop and he said, "I bet I'll see you later."
And I said, "I have a feeling you might be right."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Bus Report #35

Many things occurred to me while on an excruciatingly crowded 22 Fillmore last night.

1. Epiphany: The 22 Fillmore most likely is not the center of everyone else’s universe, even though it sometimes feels like the center of my universe.

2. Bus drivers are scared of riders.
I have often thought this but not until last night did I know it. The bus was packed, and these awful, horrible pre-teens got on the bus. They were super loud and promptly turned on a boombox. And they would not turn it off, despite everyone’s pleas and hard stares. The kid with the boombox was standing right next to me, and the speakers were right in my ears. It was way, way too loud to deal with so I said, "Hey, can you turn that down, it’s right in my ear." And he shook his head, no.
I gnashed my teeth. "Can you at least turn it so the speakers are not right in my face?" I then asked.
Another no. Little brat. Then, a guy sitting towards the front who looked like a fat Where’s Waldo? Started yelling that someone in the back was using a laser pointer and could they stop because it would blind someone?
Which just made the kids louder.
Then some teenage girls got on and the kids yelled at each other from the front of the bus to the back. The girl’s were named Chardonnay and Sade (The singer not the marquis). I know this because of all the yelling and trash talking. Add to the bedlam the fact that the boys had just been to petco and bought fish and frogs. The kids then started taking bets on how long it would take for Lee to kill the fish like he’d killed the frog, last time.
And despite all this unrulyness, the bus driver did nothing. Not a thing.

3. Bus flirting or just passing the time?
Meanwhile, Rocking-out-on-headphones-guy is standing towards the front of the bus and everytime there’s a clearing in the crowd we are smiling, waving, and nodding at each other. At one point, our elaborate non-verbal communication reaches a crescendo, and we both burst out laughing. Then he says "see you later," as he gets off the bus at Duboce.
One of these days maybe we’ll talk for real and he’ll get a real name instead of his bus nick name.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

2004 MUNI Awards

In the spirit of best of lists, or top ten lists, I thought we could use a 2004 MUNI Awards program.

Here are the winners

Sweetest seatmate: Carmen. I love our chats and wish we caught each other more often.

Most unnerving fellow commuter: The twisty hair raccoon eyes girl. We always have the same colors on, always have a bag and a lunch sack, and are both always listening to music. It's almost like having an evil twin, only I doubt she's evil. Just oddly similar to me in some ways.

Most efficient driver: that guy who runs lights and skips stops, mostly on evening runs.

Friendliest driver: the (in) famous bus driver. Friendly to J., Carmen and me, at least.

Most maligned driver: the (in) famous bus driver. People think they can ride for free, and get mad when he asks for their fare or puts them off the bus. Honestly.

Most understanding driver: the guy with the shaved head who, when I have my hands full, does not ask me for my pass.

Saddest person: Poor Mary. She looks sadder and sadder everytime I see her. Even off the bus, she looks so sad.

Hottest man: well, it's a tie. And, because I am who I am, it was hard to even winnow it down to two people. But here it is: British-looking guy wins for his British-devil-may-care look and red red hair, and Rocking-out-on-his-headphones-guy wins for his easy smile and friendly eyes.

Most surprising new bus friend: J.

Best MUNI stop: Hands down, the 33 Stanyan stop where the bus does the U turn from Clayton to Market and you can see the whole damn city. Also, the U turn always scares people and it's fun to watch.

Worst seatmate: Any Mission High School student.

Best newly discovered bus ride: the 28 Fisherman's Wharf. Lovely views of the bridge and Crissy Field.

Most annoying clones headed to a rock show at The Fillmore: the 80's glam girls on the 22 last week. They were loud, hideous looking, wouldn't move to the rear of the bus and were clueless.
Second place goes to the kids who were standing RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from The Fillmore and still had to ask a guy where it was.

Most well behaved children from large families: a tie! the 3 brothers and their Mom, and the three brothers and one sister and their Mom! Second place goes to the most beautiful little girls in the world, their new baby brother and their Mom.

Funniest Musical Moment: Riding in the back of the 24 with the Professor, Mikey and Grace, the three of them singing Journey songs and the responses we got from the other riders.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bus moment

Sat in a rear facing seat on the 22 last night. I was looking out the window at the lights along 16th, when I caught the reflection of everyone in the bus. Rocking-out-on-his-headphones-guy was standing a few rows up from me. He caught my eye in the reflection and nodded and smiled, so I nodded and smiled, and waved, and he waved back. All in the murky reflection in the window.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Make your own Tacos Day!

I hereby designate today 'Make your own Tacos day'!

Here are your taco fixin's: (choose any combo of these. I reccommend steaming the tortillas a few minutes to get them warm and soft!)

homemade pico de gallo
tomatillo salsa
mango salsa
roasted tomato salsa
green chile sauce
diced avocados with lime juice and pepper
fresh cilantro, lots of it
chopped onions
soft flour or masa harina tortillas, the little guys
barbecued chicken
carne asada
sauteed vegetables should you not eat meat
shredded monterey jack cheese
Mexican farmer cheese

Horchata, ice water or coronas with lime to drink

Mango on a stick (or in a baggie) with lime and chile powder for dessert.


A New Year

Well, It's 2005. So far, nothing has changed.
The bus is still slow, the people are still pushy, and the weather is still gross.
I tried to convince C. and The Professor that it was 'spitting' outside this weekend, but really it was pouring. POURING. As in, when we got home from the Mission on Friday, we had to hang all our clothes on the drying rack over night, and even then I was wearing a wet jacket on Saturday.
It was nice to have C. and The Professor as my New Year's guests. We did as much wandering about as we could as the storm pounded us, and then we retreated to the apartment to eat a ton of food and watch Napoleon Dynamite. My second time, The Professor's 10th or so time. Damn funny movie.

We got to see the Teacher's Pet on Saturday AND Sunday, with her hip new haircut.
We also browsed Amoeba (there's a whole room for videos and DVDs now, it's crazy!), mean old Modern Times in the Mission, Paxton Gate, the professor's favorite store ever.

The busses were still pretty empty and while we had to wait for them in the rain they came pretty quickly.

I didn't see any of my busmates until this morning.
I sat with J. and we talked about our holidays, then wished we could be going out for breakfast instead of to work.