Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bus Report #53

Easy commute today. I think the kids of San Francisco are on spring vacation. No kids on the bus at all except babies. This morning the 38 driver I like stopped the bus right in front of me. We said hi to each other. Down on Fillmore, we had a 22 driver I had never seen before. I sat across from the raccoon eye girl and the horrible haircut girl. The bus flew down Fillmore, not having to stop at any of the stops where the kids usually get on. I had a seat to myself until Mission. Even at that stop, only about four people got on. I got to work early and had extra time to settle in, which was nice because I am still feeling less than perfect.

This afternoon, after a trying day, I took the 33 Stanyan home. The light is starting to change since it’s Spring. Everything looked golden and clearer. Guys crouched around displays of bootleg CDs and DVDs in the Mission. Approaching the Castro, two men who had not seen each other in a while waved and smiled at each other, then came together for a kiss. Up the hill to Twin Peaks I noticed some streets I’d never seen before: Mono, near the bus turn off, and Pemberton, which was a well-lit stairway that winds it’s way straight up the side of a hill. On 18th, a pink house with layered cardboard covering the windows. The cardboard looked wet. It was creepy.
There were buskers on Haight Street. A pair of gutter punks walked their dogs, the puppy on a leash holding the leash of the mutt walking in front of her.
I got off the bus on Geary.
Siam Thai Noodle Geary has been closed for a few weeks, with the front of the store boarded up. I stopped in front to read a sign posted in the window. I was taken aback by what it said: Siam Thai Noodle Geary is closed because of the car that crashed into the store, we will be doing the fixing and reopen soon thank you.
I was taken aback to say the least. At 10th Avenue I waited for the light and inhaled the delicious smell of baking bread from the Boudin Bakery. Across the street the yippy sweater dogs and their owner (excuse me, owner/guardian) headed home, the awful dogs biting and barking at each other as they went.

Tonight I rode the 33 again. Someone’s beer can had spilled on the floor and the can was rolling around, so the bus smelled sour and I kept my feet up on the rail of the seat in front of me so I wouldn’t get them all beery.
I was surprised (very, very surprised!) to see British-Look Guy getting on my bus. And then sitting next to me. I stole glances every few minutes and he barely moved at all. When we turned on to Mission, there was some sort of Police and Ambulance action and a lot of people were watching. We missed it but as we drove past he turned all the way around, knees on the seat to check it out. Two blocks later two women standing at a produce stand were whipping apples, oranges and tomatoes at each other, while people tried to stop them and other people across the street watched. I started to laugh. No one on my bus noticed until we had gone completely past the food fight. Then a couple of people started pointing and turning.
British-Look Guy got out on Castro. My new seat mate was quite tall and hefty. He took up most of our seat but I did not mind. I was cold and he was warm. There’s something oddly comforting about that, but unsettling at the same time. A warm stranger. Hmmm… I was cold again when he got off the bus at Waller.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Several things:
1. I am back from Nicaragua, stories to follow once I have a good amount of time to write about it.
2. (in)famous bus driver this morning, which meant amusing if long commute and no time to get a coffee and yogurt at the Potrero Center.
3. 2 of my favorite Bostonians became parents this weekend! Congrats to the Holmans, who are now three people and not two! Best wishes and lots of love!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Bus Report #52

Yesterday afternoon I took the 33 home instead of the 22. A woman who works in my building sat in front of me, and we ended up chatting. She's one of those people you see everyday and say hi to, and like, but never actually talk to. But we introduced ourselves and shook hands (for a shipping clerk she has a weak grip). She works downstairs and I always see her pushing large trolleys full of cardboard boxes. It takes me back to my days as a shipping clerk... Ah, good times...
Anyway, as we were talking I noticed that she has an accent, an easy, slow southern type accent. Turns out she is from Tennessee. We had a nice little conversation and then she got off the bus. The sunset over Twin Peaks was lovely and the bus was not too full. The driver was funny: a Mission High softball player got on, and the driver yelled back to her, "Did you win, or lose?"
The girl muttered, "We lost."

This morning, everyone was dressed in summery styles because it's nice and warm out. I saw Ebony carrying a bouquet of flowers. Even the (in)famous bus driver had a smile on his face. Lots of teens wearing short skirts and tight tops. Lots of pale winter skin.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bus Report #52

The bus smelled like fish and chips tonight, with lots of vinegar. I had a well-dressed man sitting beside me. At one point, he sighed and said, “I hate the bus.”
I said, “It’s a necessary evil.”
“Yeah,” he sighed.
Three Mexican guys standing nearby discussed how much they loved the Aguilas, and how much they hate how all the sneakers they like are made in China.
A group of California Culinary Academy students talked loudly about key lime pie and raspberry mousse. The woman who works at the Anchor Steam Brewery was sitting next to them. She smiled at me and mouthed a hello.

I have not seen Ben in two weeks. I hope he’s on vacation, but maybe he got a new job and a new bus line.

One mom and kid got on the bus. The little boy was in a bad mood. He practically threw his fare into the fare box, stomped into the bus. The mom told him to say he was sorry to the driver, and to ask for a transfer.

Another kid and mom walked to the door from the rear of the bus. A man sitting in a window seat had fallen asleep and the boy smacked the unoccupied aisle seat, startling the man awake.

There’s a new bakery opening at Geary and Fillmore, in the Pittman’s Barbeque space.
I think they’ll do well, with all the morning commuters that pass by.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Not a bus report

Nothing has happened lately on the bus, so I'm not going to write about the bus.
The weather is turning spring-like around these parts, which means I am not wearing a sweater today. And I have already been teased about it: "I didn't recognize you without your black sweater." "Wow, where's your sweater today?"
It's okay, though, I don't mind.

I checked out some other Blogger blogs, and noticed that the majority fall into one of three categories:
1. They are religious-themed.
2. They are in Portuguese.
3. They are specifically set up for consumers of: Lightbulbs, Handbags or Life Insurance.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Field Trip

This morning I went down to City Hall to file my Notary Bond. Yes, if you know me and ever need anything notarized, let me know. Cause the State of California says I can do it.

Anyway: I took a quiet 31 Balboa bus in the rain down to Van Ness. Wet walk to City Hall followed by a ten minute wait outside on the steps before they opened for the day. I chatted with a woman that had a parking ticket to take care of. She's a native of SF and reminisced about school field trips to City Hall as a kid.

San Francisco City Hall is beautiful.
Once inside, I promptly got lost looking for the room I wanted but it was okay because I got to wander through the rotunda and see some nice sculpture. City Hall is silent and empty at 8 AM, which was nice. It's usually quite bustling. When I had to go there two summers ago for work, I would sometimes hang out and watch the wedding ceremonies taking place on or near the staircase. Lovely.

After wandering aimlessly for a bit, I asked a security guard where to go and since he was not busy he walked me down the hall.

I was the only person in the clerk's office, yet they still gave me a number (001) and still called the number. They did not appreciate my joking (Hey, I'm number 001, lucky me.) but they took my paperwork and check and administered the oath (I had to swear to uphold the Constitution! Yikes!) and then I was done.

Walked to the 19 Polk bus stop nearby. When it came, I got in and noticed my co-worker, A. sitting in the front. I sat with her and we got to work twenty minutes later.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Bus Report #51

Mission Street & 16th Street, last night.

Our bus was pretty empty and we were making good time, so of course something was bound to happen on this corner. Our driver had the light, and started through it when this guy walked right out in front of the bus. Our driver had good reflexes and narrowly missed hitting him.
Instead of cursing out the driver and continuing on his way, this guy cursed out the driver and stood squarely right in front of the window, threatening and gesturing and banging on the window. And he stayed like that for several light cycles.
Our driver called the police. A collective sigh of resignation by the passengers. One woman, who works at the Anchor Steam Brewery, suggested hitting him anyway. A few people laughed uncomfortably.
The couple sitting behind me were talking about how they desperately needed to get home. The husband got up and went to the front of the bus. He said something to the driver and the driver let him out. Everyone else craned their necks to see what was going to happen. We heard some shouting. The man's wife quickly went to the front of the bus and said, "that's my husband." but the driver wouldn't open the doors.
A moment later, I heard a cheer from the people in the front of the bus. The doors opened and our hero stepped back on.
As befits a hero, we gave him a round of applause. People said stuff like "thanks, man," and "good job" and he and his wife sat back down.
He had told the man that the cops were coming, and that he could either wait for them and get "a free ride downtown" (I'm not making this up) or he could walk on and there'd be no trouble. Crazy man, but smart enough to chose the second option.
Happy ending, 10 minutes after unhappy beginning.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Bus Report #50

Mishmash of Bus related activities and musings:

-Open letter to the boy wearing the white boxers: Hey, pull up your pants! No one on this bus wants to see your underwear, no matter how pristinely white it is. You are wearing a belt. USE IT!

-Three people reading paperbacks with severely cracked spines (the books, not the readers)

-Many CCA students wearing paint-spattered clothes

-One of the regular riders, a mom with a little girl and an even littler boy got on the bus this morning. It was very crowded and there was only one seat open so the mom took it and had the little boy in her lap. The little girl wandered a bit towards the back and the mom called her back. There was an elderly Ethiopian lady sitting next to the mom (she is also a regular) and she scooped up the little girl and sat her on her lap. They rode like that the rest of the ride, the elderly lady whispering in the little girl's ear from time to time.

-Last night, I had the good fortune to be on the same bus with Carmen. After our initial five minutes of saying how glad we were to see each other, how we always thought of each other and looked for each other, we got down to business. Her family is doing very well. Carmen just returned from a vacation in Florence with her husband. Her work schedule has been up and down lately but at least her son has been driving her to work lately. We got off the 22 and waited together for the 38. We chattered the whole ride, and I almost missed my stop because of it. Which would have been fine, Carmen's a bus super star.