Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bus Report #92

The Mission woke up late today.
As my bus slowly made it's way down 16th Street, it seemed as though the shops were only JUST opening, the street cleaners were only JUST cleaning and the cops were only JUST rousting the homeless people awake.
A tiny woman gobbled a sandwich by the BART station.
The guys at Pancho Villa's used a high pressure water hose to clean out some buckets.
DPW soaped up the sidewalk in front of the Victoria Theater, while the homeless encampment tried to pack up before getting wet.
The shaved-head-clark-kent-glasses driver stopped at a few non-stops to pick up regulars. He idled the bus by McDonald's and ran in for a coffee.
Out the window I saw Carmen talking to Sarah and I wanted to yell out to her, but we passed them before I had a chance.
Mr. Polite politely let me board before him.
As I waited to cross the street to go to work, I looked up at the MUNI wires. There was something beautiful about the black wires curving and crossing the grey sky.
Lastly, Mod Jolene was wearing a long blonde wig today, with a beret. It worked for her, and would look great too, if she were a drag queen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bus Report #91

This morning I missed the 38 by a minute, so I ended up waiting for a while at the stop. I had company: the sweatshop ladies, the casino-bound seniors, and some obsessive 38bx riders.
10 minutes later I was on an empty 38. We made good time to Fillmore, so I was able to catch the 22. I ran super fast to catch it, but since it was the shaved-head-clark-kent-glasses driver, he waited for me. I smiled and said good morning, then I went to sit down.
It was an uneventful ride. The tall guy was folded into a window seat. One of the moms and her little girl was on the bus, and the little girl has shiny new glasses. Sarah, the Mayor of 16th Street (very friendly woman who does great art at Creativity Explored) got on and everyone said hi and made a space for her.

At Potrero I got out and walked, and fell in step with Mod Jolene who was also walking to work. We walked, and chatted. She is looking to buy a scooter. I can already see exactly how she will trick it out, and what she will wear to ride it. Mod style, of course!

Fare Hike Part II

Yesterday afternoon I waited for the bus with a regular we will call Debbie. Debbie works around the corner from me and she is usually a pretty happy lady. We got going on the fare hike, though, and she turned vicious (towards MUNI and BART, not towards yours truly) She and I talked about how unfair the fare hike is, how to fix it, and decided that we should be on the transportation and MUNI boards. Since we actually use public transit, which I doubt the MUNI board people do.
We also remarked on how gorgeous the fog looked as it rolled over Potrero Hill. It was like a rug unfurling itself. Cool.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bus Report #90

A couple of things

1. MUNI Fare Increase September 1
Just so you know, MUNI is raising fares on September 1. Adult fares will now be $1.50, though I think fast pass fees are the same. Discount fares will be 50 cents.

I am AGAINST the fare increase, but I am EVEN MORE AGAINST the proposed fare strike planned for September 1.
Here's why.
-Not paying fares will not change MUNIs mind: it will just make for an excruciating commute for everyone involved.
-There are already too many people who don't pay. This is one of the reasons for the hike (Whoa, idea: How about having fare collectors on all busses and trains so people can't sneak on anymore? They'd make enough money to pay the fare collectors and bite into their deficit, too!)

2. The (in)famous bus driver.
Everyone at FCN knows how much I like the (in)famous bus driver. I have not seen him in weeks so I was surprised to see him on another route last week. His bus was stopped at a light so I went over to say hi. I slapped the side of the bus. He looked down and smiled.
Him: Hello!
Me: Hi! When are you coming back, we miss you!
Him: Aw, it's all messed up, they're switching me to Cable Cars!
Me: Aw, man. Too bad. Well, see you soon. Good luck.
Him: Take care.

You heard it here first, gang. He is off to run Cable Cars. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bus Report #89

For the second time this summer, the bus was full of horrible, disgusting people.
Sneezing people.
Stale-cigarette-and-beer people.
Fruity-perfume-spray people.
Fast-food-breakfast-eating people.
Several teenagers going to summer school, shouting obscenities back and forth.
A headphones-wearing man, singing awfully along to his music.
I wanted to get out the bus, so I got off at Potrero, but could barely get off the bus as a VERY pushy woman tried to get on as I was getting off. I said, "Hey, let me of first, Christ!"
She said "sorry" but continued to push. I hit her with my elbow.

Hopefully this afternoon will be better.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bus Report #88

A usual morning commute.

1. Mr. Polite and I, allies against the 38 Geary, while 15 people waiting for the bus to Thunder Valley Casino milled around behind us.
2. I sit next to the guy-who-is-always-on-his-cell on the 38. I listen to Javier Alvarez's album Dos instead of the guy's conversation.
3. As has become a morning ritual, I race for the 22. The shaved-head-clark-kent-glasses driver waits for me. I say a hearty, "good morning!" and he says the same back to me.
4. The handsome Southeast Asian (or Middle Eastern?) Culinary Academy student sits near the window, Walkman on. He has a delicate silver nose ring that I never noticed before. He sees me looking at him and he smiles.
5. The young man who works at the Anchor Steam Brewery sits in front of me. He has music on, too.
6. The mom with the four little kids gets on at Hayes. The driver gives the little girl and the littlest boy their own transfers. The kids thank him in Spanish and, all smiles, pile in to their usual seats. The mom shifts the baby on her lap. The oldest boy sits across from them, making faces at his sister.
7. My favorite sweatshop lady gets on at Church. We smile and mouth 'hello' to each other.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bus Report #87

Between a drunk and a 12 year old.

I was on a crowded 38 Geary on Saturday, completely boxed in by men.
There was a quiet drunk sitting beside me.
In front of me, a burly bald man who had his arm around a stocky man with thick, black curly hair.
In back of me, a father and son who were lost on the bus.
Standing near them was another man, who helpfully explained how the father and son could get to Chinatown.
Across the way, a black-clad guy in white socks and sandals with stringy, greasy long hair was listening to his walkman at full blast. I caught a glimpse of the CD he was listening to: The Angry Amputees. I think they are local.

Good Luck.

This morning I was running late (Sandwich preparation, bills paying, music choosing) so I got to the corner just as the 38 was pulling into the stop. I ran across the street to the center island, where I was stuck until the lights changed. The driver looked at me and pointed to the bus, and I nodded, so he pulled over. The light changed and I dashed across the street. He let me on the bus. I thanked him profusely and sat down.
At Fillmore, I saw the 22 idling at the stop. I flew off the 38 and ran at full speed to catch it.
The driver was the shaved-head-clark-kent-glasses driver, so naturally he waited for me. I smiled and asked him how he was while I fumbled for my bus pass.
"It's okay," he said. "I know you."

Everyone knows him, too, I thought. Especially since as we drove down Fillmore several people waved at him and called out 'good morning' to him.
One very dapper elderly gentleman (full suit with vest, shined shoes, cane) blew him a kiss, then laughed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bus Report #86

Due to the San Francisco marathon, the 22 Fillmore bus was re-routed and they used diesel busses instead of the ones on the wires. By the time E. and I were on the 22 (after This American Life Brunch with the Teacher's Pet) the bus was back on its normal route but still off the wires.

Someone got on the bus smelling of pot. Our driver said, "you better not be smoking on the bus, that better be coming in off the street."

A few stops later, an older man in headphones and sunglasses got on. He was talking to himself loudly, cursing and going on and on about his distrust for the bus and how he was going to blow it up, and he kept throwing around the word terrorist. Not the best move on a public bus. I leaned over and said to E., "Wonder how long before this guy gets thrown off the bus."

The answer was about half a block. The driver pulled over and stopped the bus. She said, "I don't want to hear any of that kind of language on this bus. Get off the bus now, whoever is talking like that."
We all looked at the man. He cursed the driver some more, then stalked off the bus.
The passengers gave our driver a round of applause.
"On my bus I am in charge, and I won't stand for it," our driver said.

I rode the bus from work to my old neighborhood with Francisco. We discussed our summer travel plans, work, and the weather. I hope his business picks up, because he's a good person to ride the bus and chat with.

When he got off, two teenage girls with braces and hooded sweatshirts got on and sat across from me. The talked about their friend, who had a serious boyfriend.
"Do you think they do it?" the girl with the blonde hair asked her friend.
The dark-haired girl shrugged. "I don't know. Where would they do it, his house?"
It was a funny conversation to over hear, and it made me feel 15 again. They were cute, in a raggedy teenagery kind of way.

At Oak Street, two tattooed boys got off the bus. As they left, one said, "I think I have a 9 year old kid somewhere. I mean, I know I do." and he laughed.
His friend said, "Yeah?"
and he said, "Yeah."

Ran for the bus this morning. Mr. Polite was the only other person at the bus stop.
"I am running late today, and where's the bus?" he said.
I agreed that they were running on a weird schedule. The bus eventually came and we got on.
At his stop, he got off the bus and waited to cross the street. As we pulled away, he waved to me with a wide sweep of his arm, and he smiled.