Friday, January 27, 2006

Bus Report #126

Strangely empty busses this morning. At first I thought maybe it was Saturday and I had gotten up by accident.

As I was having my tea and getting ready to leave the house, NPR mentioned that this week is the 20th anniversary of the Challenger explosion, which seems insane to me. I remember that day so clearly: sitting in Ms. McKinney's third grade classroom watching the launch on a wheeled-in TV, seeing the strange smoke, then Mr. Kaplan on the loudspeaker telling us what had happened.
The nervous laughter from some of the kids in the class. Not being able to sit still during the moment of silence. Trying to understand what it all meant.
20 years. Wow.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bus Report #125

I found a list of all the MUNI lines and wanted to see how many I have actually been on.

I have been on:
F Market & Wharves
J Church
K Ingleside
L Taraval
M Ocean View
N Judah
California Street Cable Car
Powell-Hyde Cable Car
Powell-Mason Cable Car
1 California
2 Clement
3 Jackson
4 Sutter
5 Fulton
6 Parnassus
7 Haight
9 San Bruno
10 Townsend
14 Mission
15 Third Street
19 Polk
21 Hayes
22 Fillmore
24 Divisadero
26 Valencia
27 Bryant
28 19th Avenue
29 Sunset
30 Stockton
31 Balboa
33 Stanyan
38 Geary
43 Masonic
44 O'Shaughnessy
45 Union-Stockton
47 Van Ness
49 Van Ness
53 Southern Heights
66 Quintara
71 Haight-Noriega

I have yet to ride:
12 Folsom
17 Parkmerced
18 46th Avenue
23 Monterey
35 Eureka
36 Teresita
37 Corbett
39 Coit
41 Union
48 Quintara
52 Excelsior
54 Felton
56 Rutland
67 Bernal Heights
76 Marin Headlands
89 Laguna Honda

* I did not list express, owl or BART services

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bus Report #124

How I spent my Friday afternoon commute

I went out to catch the 22 Fillmore, a little bit later than usual. The only bus that came was one that was only going to Potrero, but since I wasn't in a rush I decided that would be fine, then I would wait for a 33 Stanyan.
So we start rattling towards Potrero. At Vermont, a 33 Stanyan is turning onto 16th. Our driver honks at him to wait up, and I dash out of the bus to get on it. He pulls away just as I reach the back of the bus.
I angrily stomp up the hill to Potrero. I can see the bus waiting in front of the Potrero Center, so I book it, running, pumping my arms, sprinting across the street.
The bus takes off just as I pass the Boston Market.
I wait in the bus shelter, arms crossed, mad at the 33 Stanyan for not waiting for me.
The 22 Fillmore that was going out of service stops in front of McDonald's and spits everyone out.
A moment later, Ebony is standing next to me. We discuss MUNI service cuts, kids these days, and East Coast people versus West Coast people.
She asks me if I have been to the new De Young yet, and I tell her no.
She rummages in her bag and hands me a couple of VIP passes. Her company did a lot of the graphics for the museum and got a ton of comp tickets.
I thanked her profusely.
Eventually, a 33 Stanyan showed up and I got on.
Uneventful ride for the most part. Shaggy, smelly, drunk man lurched onto the bus at Haight and Stanyan. He sat right behind me gobbling chocolate. The smell of chocolate and alcohol made me feel ill.
I leaned as far forward in my seat as possible.
I was walking up Clement when I saw a familiar face across the street. It was W. from my writing class. He walked me home, and we caught up on things as we walked. He's nice, funny, and a great writer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bus Report #123

This week on the bus:
Sat and chatted with Carmen, who had saved me a seat.

Gossiped with Ebony at the coffee cart, after we got off two back-to-back 22 Fillmore buses.

Sat sandwiched between two people (Nurse #1 and UPS Driver #4) who yapped on their cell phones the whole way down to work. It was 7 AM, honestly, what couldn't wait?

Watched a drunk/half-asleep man repeatedly fall out of his seat on the 38 Geary. He had a few coins in his right hand and he kept dropping them as he nodded off. Then he would lean down and scrabble around on the floor for them, only to drop them again a moment later.

Listened to the ramblings of the crazy man who rides between Mission Street and Harrison. Usually he gets thrown off because he talks about terrorists, but yesterday the driver let him stay on. As soon as he got off, I rolled my eyes at the woman who had been standing next to him, and she shook her head and rolled hers back at me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bus Report #122

I was in Cole Valley last night for my writing group meeting. As we were breaking for the night I saw the 43 Masonic turning onto Cole. I bolted from the Cafe and ran to catch it.
At Geary, the 38 Geary was just pulling in to the stop. I managed to run and catch it. Total commute time? 20 minutes.

Before I went to sleep, I was talking to N. and I listed all the bus lines I knew in numerical order. She was impressed, I think, or else worried about me....

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bus Report #121

I was on a 71 Haight on Saturday, heading to Haight and Fillmore. Some kids got on at Van Ness and pushed their way to the back of the bus, and immediately started tagging the part above the windows where ads are usually posted.
Now, here's the thing: No one said anything, though everyone stared at them, the driver did nothing, and the kids were loud, obnoxious and the stench from their paint was unbearable.
People opened windows.
People rolled their eyes, sucked their teeth, shook their heads.
Finally, one woman got up and walked to the front of the bus. She spoke to the driver and marched back to her seat.
The driver promptly pulled over and made the kids get off, but not before they angrily pushed the woman and shouted at her.
She was shook up but she was okay. I thanked her before I got off the bus.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bus Report #120

It's a new year and everyone is back on the bus. In the past three days I have seen almost all my usual bus companions. And been on very crowded buses, very empty buses, very late buses and very loud buses.
I found out where all the handsome men on the 22 work: there's a music mailorder company on 16th and Harrison. That must be where they hide all day. Must. Make. Friends. There.
The kids all have new winter coats and even bigger backpacks.
The neon has been fixed on the Motel Geary Parkway Vacancy, and it looks beautiful in the early mornings against the dark grey/blue sky.
I've been listening to my La Ley albums for four commutes now. I am quite happy with them.
Here's a moment from New Year's Eve for you:
I took the 22 Fillmore to The Teacher's Pet's place. The bus was 1/2 an hour late in coming. I crowded in with about fifteen other newcomers, and worked my way to the back.
My seat mate was rolling joints in the aisle, and managed to sell about 30 dollars worth of pot between Fillmore and Haight.
At Church, the bus was stopped because of a power problem. My seat mate started to get antsy, and talked with the sunglasses-at-7:30 PM-I'm-From-Liverpool-guy. They both started in about police searches and New Year's parties. My seatmate told me that San Francisco has the best public transit system in the country. My reply? Then why are we stuck at this intersection? He laughed. After five minutes my seatmate got off the bus, worried that the police would come on and search us (They didn't. They wouldn't). Then the guy with the sunglasses muttered about being late to his party and got off, too. A moment later, we were back in business, rolling slowly down 16th street.