Monday, February 28, 2005

Bus Report #49 & other stuff not related to public transit (Gasp!)

This morning while waiting for my bus, a very, very raggedy man got on the express bus. I was glad he did not get on mine: he smelled awful and wore layers of rags upon layers of rags, with duct tape wrapped around his hands. But he did pay his fare, I'll give him that.
At Fillmore, the teen who always talks to me was freezing in a tank top. We talked about the weather and hoped it would not rain. So far, it has not rained, so hopefully it will keep up. And hopefully she'll come to her senses and put on more clothes. It's way too cold for tank tops.

This weekend I walked all over our fair city. Downtown is, predictably, a zoo as always.
I decided to skip the 38 Geary on my way home and walked up to Sutter and caught the 2 Clement. Listened to a good report on NPR about blindness.

Yesterday it poured, and the Teacher's Pet and I were hard pressed to find a cozy cafe in which to knit and hang out. Farley's was full, and She'd already been to Atlas, so we thought maybe there'd be something for us in Noe Valley. Not a thing. Except parking.
We ended up drenched and hungry, so we went to the Citrus Club in the Haight, where, bizarrely, there was parking right in front.
The Citrus Club was one of the first places in San Francisco I ate in. It fit the bill last night.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bus Report #48

Things have been pretty subdued on the bus all week. No major fights, not many conversations worth overhearing, and only two people have tried to cross the (in)famous driver.
Although this morning the girl with the ripped coat said something nasty to her friend about him. What is wrong with her? He's just doing his job.
I spent about 10 minutes staring at British-Look-Guy's neck tattoo last night. It's a jaguar, stylized, with green eyes and a protruding red tongue. Two Ethiopian girls were discussing their tattoos. One swore she'd never get one and the other swore that when she did it would be very unique. They gave him a look as they all got off the bus but I wasn't sure if it was a 'go team' look or a 'lame' look.

This morning, waiting for the bus, I overheard the teen-who-always-looks-like-he's-going-clubbing (I imagine he goes to Death Rock Booty Call, but who knows?) trying to figure out where to catch the 9 San Bruno.
He looked pretty confused when he got off the phone so I told him where to catch it. He shook his head, "I hate this stuff," but thanked me for my help before he took off.
I saw Stephanie (We've been bus mates for years but only saying Hi since the summer)at the Potrero Center and we said hi and have a good weekend to each other.

Mission Grounds cafe looks closed. This makes me very sad, because although I've only been there a few times, it is one of F's favorite spots.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bus Report #47

And now, for something a little different.

I was in LA this weekend and had the opportunity (Yes, I look at it as an opportunity) to explore the LA Metro system.
I was struck by how clean and nice the LA Metro was. Also, it was not crowded. You need to buy a transfer each time you go into the Metro. No buying 2 and using one on the way back. Oh, No. That would make sense, and we know that there is usually something nonsensical about even the best public transit systems.
The Metro unfortunately only services a tiny fraction of the city of LA.
However, this worked in my favor. I was able to take it from the Professor's swank apartment to the MOCA, from Hollywood/Highlands to Los Feliz and back to the Professor's place.
I was fascinated by the myriad bus lines that seem to be everywhere. No one I talked to had ever taken any of them, though. And the Professor says that each part of the city has it's own bus system, and that there are places where they intersect. Seems like a mess to me.
MUNI sweet MUNI, I guess.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bus Report #46

Rain + Bus = Nightmare

LONG and annoying commute this morning. There were two out-of-commission 22 Fillmores (one at Dolores and one a block away at Guerrero). Nothing like broken buses and rain, I tell you. So, our one bus ended up holding three buses' worth of passengers. Or trying to, at least. People are animals when they are late for work. It's scary. The bus was officially full and they kept coming. The old ladies were squished up against the plexiglass and the floor was slick from water.
Somehow I managed to get out the bus at Potrero. Almost got someone's umbrella in my eye.
Yes, I'm sure it will be just as pleasant this evening on the way home.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Bus Report #45

More odds and ends.

I had the Snappy Dresser sitting beside me this morning. He always looks razor-sharp, wears suits with incredibly bright ties and striped shirts. It's a look that maybe 2 people can pull off, and he is one of them. This morning's tie was royal purple with thick black diagonal stripes. He always reads Women's Wear Daily, so I imagine he works in fashion.

One of the teens, who gets on at my old Oak Street stop, told me she liked my eyes. I thanked her, and then she asked me my race/ethnicity. I was taken aback. I didn't think you asked such questions on the bus. I replied, "Jewish," and turned up my headphones. She gave me a confused look. Like I gave her the wrong answer or something. Sorry, honey. Ask a weird question and you get a weird answer (although it is true, and I do think it counts as a race/ethnicity).

Another of the teens spent the whole ride chatting with the (in)famous bus driver.

3 Cor-O-Van guys tried to get on through the back of the bus so the (in)famous bus driver told them they absolutely had to board through the front. Which is what he tells everyone every day. They were pissed off, cursed him, and spent the rest of the ride talking about him loudly in Spanish.

I saw my favorite sweatshop lady. We waved and grinned at each other across the length of the bus.

The mom with the 4 little kids was taking the oldest boy to school. The toddler buried his face in another regular rider's jacket.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bus Report #44

I went out to the bus a few minutes early and ended up talking about the weather and the old neighborhood with a 22 Fillmore regular we’ll call… Ramon. Anyway, we talked about the bus and living on Oak Street. The bus was crowded when it came. I sat against the window next to a very serious looking kid with a flute case. Within ten minutes Ben had gotten on the bus (smile smile wave nod),then J. (smile, wave and then a scowl as she tried to slip into a seat) and finally British-look guy (shouldered his way to the back of the bus, all the while walking with his usual odd gait). It was weird to see so many people I knew in the same, enclosed space at the same time.
J. got off first near Café Macondo. I wonder how that place is these days. My first and last visit there involved roaches and I’ve never gone back.
Ben was next, four blocks and several heavy-lidded smiles and eye rolls later.
Then British-look guy, bobbing down the street, looking out of place in his own neighborhood.
Ramon was last. He had errands to run before heading home.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Bus Report #43

I'm slacking. So here are a few bus moments from the past few days.

1. Nothing brings people together like urine.
Wednesday's afternoon bus reeked of urine, so strong at first I thought it was cheap incense. Everyone on the bus had their noses covered, and they were talking about it. People warned each other to avoid sitting in the back of the bus. Kids clustered by the doors. We all wondered why the bus was still in service and there was definitely a mutiny brewing, though it went unrealized when the most vocal rider got off at Mission. Ben sat two rows ahead of me, headphones on, headphones half on while on cell phone, headphones off and swivelled around a couple of times to smile smile and say hello, goodbye.

2. Who doesn't like a Thursday?
I decided to take the 33 on Thursday, since I got to the bus stop early enough to catch the 5:35 bus. Stood at the stop with many of my commute companions. Ben and friend walked by, smile smile wave wave and hey how are you?
The 33 was crowded by the time I got on but I managed a seat. Quiet bus despite the crowd. Good non-fog obstructed view from Twin Peaks. Back in the neighborhood, things were bustling. With Chinese New Year on it's way, everyone was doing their shopping. The accordionist played 'America the Beautiful' and then promptly played it again at the request of a serene looking T-shirt wearing neighborhood guy.

3. Tempers Flaring.
Yesterday afternoon I took the 43 Masonic from City College home. I'd been at a Super Bowl party behind City College, which was fun. So, full of beer and pizza I settled myself into a seat on the 43. It was pretty empty and oddly enough, besides the driver all the passengers were women. A girl sat right in front of me and we watched the sun set. It was all pink and orange and purple and gorgeous. A plastic juice bottle started rolling around in the back of the bus and the driver pulled over and said, "Pick it up, it's yours, pick it up,"
The bottle belonged to no one. I said, "It's not anybody's, it's just rolling around, but if you want we can pick it up."
he said, "No, it's hers with the headphones."
It of course was not. The girl in front of me yelled that she was late for work. She scooped up the bottle and jammed it into her backpack, and was sullen the rest of the trip.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Bus Report #42

This morning the bus was packed but full of many of my favorite commuters.
The little families.
Ebony, one of my oldest busmates.
My favorite sweatshop lady, who sat beside me, said hello and patted my knee. As I got up to leave I wished her a happy Chinese New Year.
The nice teens. As we waited for the bus there was a woman on the sidewalk across the street, and the teens and I tried to figure out if she was hurt or crazy. The bus came before we could find out.
The snobby people who work at The Guardian.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bus Report #41

Two day's worth of bus observations for you.

The bus smelled horribly of fish last night, the whole route, even after I got off the bus, the neighborhood smelled like fish. Yuck.
Other gross things:
-Two girls, with a baby carriage covered in plastic, baby inside. Mutt dog perched on the top of the carriage and another mutt in a sling bag across the other girl's chest. The girls kept kissing the dogs and playing with them, and ignored the baby

-Man dry shaving with a blue disposable razor, before getting off for his shift at Kaiser.

-crowded, crowded 22 Fillmore. A woman's hard and squishy at the same time abdomen and belly pressed up against my shoulder and arm.

Fun stuff:
-Fast fast bus driver, shaved head bus driver, nice teen, and our favorite families yesterday and today.

Sad Stuff:
-There's a woman I see on the bus sometimes who I used to see all the time last year, picking up her little boy from day care. A few months ago, I saw her on the bus again, this time with her little boy and her husband. She's wheelchair-bound now. She still picks up her son from daycare, but now her husband comes and helps her get the chair on the bus. The little boy sits in her lap.