Friday, July 29, 2005

Bus Report #85

Not a lot going on transit-wise this week.

We had a Spare The Air Day but everyone on my bus who pays their fare uses a pass, so it made no difference.

I had the shaved-head-clark-kent-glasses driver three mornings in a row. He held the bus for me as I ran down Geary each time. Then two blocks later he made his coffee run. He shakes everyone's hands and chats with the older guys in the cafe. He uses lots of gestures and facial expressions.

At Hayes, the AA house people piled on and then the mom with the four little kids. Everyone loves that little family. The kids are so wonderfully behaved. The little girl is chatty and smiley. The boys are quiet but friendly, and the baby is too big now to be kept in a snugli, so the mom keeps her on her lap.
Whenever they get on the rest of us get happy immediately. No lie. The people from the AA house usually look gruff or tired, but when the kids got on and started chatting to the other mom and kid on the bus, the moustached AA guys smiled at them. The homeless guy leaned forward and grinned at the kids, and it was in a nice way not a creepy way.

On the 38 the other night, a man with two little daughters blew bubbles with a bubble wand for them and the bubbles wafted towards the back of the bus. It was a nice, light moment on the 38. Unusual. Even the girl with the teardrop eye tattoo smiled.

The empty lot near my office is not so empty these days. There is a trailer there, and men with hard hats and orange vests doing various things. Yesterday they were watering the lot with a hose, and I could not figure out why.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bus Report #84

The Professor, during a lengthy research session on the habits of red-eared turtles uncovered the following vintage bus reports. As far as a I can tell, they are at least a year and a half old, from before I started FogCityNotes.
How little things change. Enjoy!

Bus Report #12

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Another missive from our favorite stop along the
22. Used to be, McAllister was the stop. Where
purses got snatched and people fought. Nice to
see that the action has moved down the block, to
the area between the McDonald's and the Northern
District Police Station.
Yesterday after a long day at work, I was riding
the bus home. in front of the McDonald's we
stopped to let some folks on and off. there were
an inordinate amount of kids hanging out,
laughing, teasing each other, the usual. A guy
got on the bus and started closing windows, and
opening the air hatch on the top of the bus. As
we pulled out of the stop, one of the kids
whipped a huge bottle or cup of water at the bus.
the thing hit right above my window and burst.
luckily my window was closed so i did not get
wet, but the guy who had opened and closed the
windows, as well as a few other people in the
back of the bus got soaked. I watched him wipe
his head, face and neck with a tissue to dry off.
He said to the day laborers, "Guess i closed the
wrong windows."

Bus Report #13

Was it something they ate?

Everyone was in a good mood on the 22 yesterday
afternoon. There was an adorable baby sitting
with his mom in the front of the bus. he wasn't
any older than a year, and he was wearing a huge
pair of shiny pearl-white Nikes. They were almost
as big as he was. He was giggling and It seemed
to infect the rest of us.
I smiled.
The thin, tall guy with the neck tattoo (it's a
snarling jaguar, i noticed finally) smiled, and
he smiled at me too which was a first. His short
friend with the red corderoy jacket smiled, too.
At Shotwell, a happy little family (Mom and four
kids) tried to get out the back door but the
driver didn't notice. The rest of us called
out, "back door!" and she opened it for them.
At Mission, the good mood continued to spiral
out. Two elderly ladies with huge bags got on the
bus, and when one started to fall, a short Latino
guy with lots of gold chains and a muscle tank
shirt helped her up.
The kids were not bad, the cell phone
conversations not as inane as usual and there was
no trouble.
Hopefully today will be as good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bus Report #83

Everyone is hideous today.

For some reason, I was very uncharitable towards everyone on the bus, with the exception of Kim and L.
The rest of the commuters were disgusting today.
Dandruff, matted hair, stale cigarettes and beer, mothballs, skunky coffee.
Twisted teeth. Stained teeth. No teeth.
Kim got on the bus at her usual stop and said hello. At Church, after all the kids tumbled out, she worked her way to the rear of the bus. She is reading another John Muir book these days.
I saw L. out the window. He was waiting for the J Church, smoking a cigarette. I see him from time to time and it always reminds me of my first summer in San Francisco, because that was when I met him. He looks good, for someone who recently had major heart surgery.
I watched him smoke, and imagined a scar on his chest.
We turned onto 16th Street and the wires got disconnected. This happens more often than not, and it is scary when the bus is diagonal, unmoving in the middle of a 4-way intersection.
The burnt-out buildings from last week's fire still look really bad. There is burnt furniture and debris in piles along the sidewalk. I wondered if the Synagogue nearby is doing any relief work for the fire victims.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bus Report #82

This weekend I hosted the rest of the Moores, and we had some exciting bus adventures.
2 Clement to Van Ness and Sutter:
We had a lovely driver on this bus. She was super friendly and very nice, and funny. We sat four in a row towards the rear of the bus. She was so animated we had to laugh when she yelled at double parked cars and called for people in the bus to cede their seats to the elderly ladies. She almost forgot to tell a couple which stop to get off at: she started to pull away from the curb and then braked suddenly.
"43 Masonic connection, I almost made you folks walk all the way back up the hill," she said as the couple thanked her and got out.
We thanked her when we got out at our stop. We hung back so as not to get too close to a crazy man who was cackling and muttering to himself.

49 Van Ness to Mission and 30th:
We got on a 49 bus and again sat in the rear. The bus started moving before I sat down and I almost ended up in my seatmate's lap. Luckily, he was a good sport about it. Instead of turning onto Otis, our bus headed towards downtown. After a few minutes of panicked/annoyed passengers, we realized the bus was being rerouted to avoid construction on Mission. We were treated to a tour of SOMA. It was brillantly sunny still but there were not many pedestrians about.
The people sitting opposite us talked loudy on cellphones.
I saw a man at a crosswalk who works in my building.
At 16th Street our bus turned up to Mission. I showed the Professor the ad for Medea, The Musical, which is playing at the Theater Rhinoceros. It was funny.
Our bus coasted down Mission, and I pointed out the fruit stand where the women got into a food fight, and the murals, and some of the quirkier store fronts.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bus Report #81

There was a fire in the Mission early this morning. It left 64 people homeless and several people injured.
By the time my commute brought me down there, the fire was out. The only signs that there had been anything going on were a large ladder on a fire truck, the smell of smoke hanging in the air, and the buses were rerouted along 17th Street.
Several people on my bus grew suddenly alert and panicked when the bus did not turn. The rest of us took it in stride, though.
I leaned against the window and watched the new scenery. Elliott Smith sang beautiful whispery songs on my Discman.
On 17th Street the bus wires had nowhere to go, so we quietly glided down the street with the electric poles tucked down on top of the bus. We passed two 22s going in the other direction. Their poles were flat down as well. I thought: these buses are slinking around. That's how it looked to me.
We cut up Guerrero, past D.S.'s old apartment near the 500 Club. Past the Tattoo parlor, the old church, the corner where the cop got killed in the car crash and the Boys and Girl's Club.
At Guerrero and 16th our driver got out to realign the poles. He was wearing purple gloves.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bus Report #80

There are a lot of things to say this morning and I don't know where to start, so we'll start with the good:
The threatened BART strike has been averted, so thousands of commuters will no longer have any excuses for missing work this week.

The funny:
Some 22 Fillmores are wrapped in advertisements for TACA airlines. The ads feature pretty red and green macaws, but I know TACA is not all pretty birdies. It's about lost luggage and delayed flights, and people carrying to go containers of El Salvadoran fried chicken.

The bad:
I am very saddened and shocked by the London train/bus bombings this morning. It is horrible and my heart goes out to everyone who was affected by it.

It was surreal to be on MUNI this morning, a perfectly average commute (so average it doesn't merit a bus report of its own today) while listening on my walkman to reports coming from London. I was almost crying on the bus. The rest of the zombies did not seem to care at all, as far as I could tell. The teenagers laughed and punched each other. The sweatshop ladies played musical chairs.
All the while, very calm-sounding people from Scotland Yard repeated the terrible news.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Bus Report #79

This morning the 38 was full of zombie-eyed commuters. Several seats in the back were covered in crumbs. I mouthed a 'hello' to the older woman who gets on at Divisadero.
At Geary, I ran for the 22. I should have known it would wait for me; the driver was the shaved-head-Clark-Kent-glasses driver. I got on and thanked him for waiting. He is so sweet.
Raccoon-Eye girl sat across from me, looking as much my doppelganger as ever. I can't stand it.
At Eddy we pulled up in front of the Fillmore Street Cafe. It's always hopping in the mornings, full of neighborhood people and commuters of all stripes. Even the soon to open Happy Donuts won't be as busy, I guarantee.
Our driver got out of the bus and high-fived a couple of regulars, then disappeared into the cafe for his morning coffee.
It took a few minutes but no one seemed to mind. It was a lazy sort of morning for all of us.
At Hayes, the people from the AA house piled onto the bus. They always look tired and reek of cigarettes. I suppose a nicotine addiction is better than an alcohol addiction for them.
When we got to my stop, a relaxing 20 minutes later, I said goodbye to my favorite sweatshop lady and waved to the driver. I scurried across 17th and got my paper.
The empty lot has signs saying construction starts Tuesday and runs through Christmas.