Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bus Report #130

What does it say about the state of MUNI when nothing outrageous or quirky has happened during my commute in over a week?

I have been taking extremely early morning buses (thanks to a too-fast alarm clock!) and everyone seems to be asleep for the duration. It's a different set of 38 Geary riders all together... I feel like I am in some sort of strange alternate universe.

The 22 Fillmore remains the same: crowded, late, prone to going out of service.
For the past four mornings, I've had one of my old favorite drivers, the skinny shaved-head driver. He says hi to me every morning and pulls the bus right up in front of me.

I sat next to Carmen this morning. I have not seen her in weeks so we caught up on each other's travels. She is teaching her pre-schoolers how to do the Rumba. I am sure they look adorable.

I keep seeing our UPS guy (he gets on at McAllister) but I am not sure if I should say hi or not. It's too early, and he is not in uniform yet.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bus report #129

This afternoon it was freezing cold out. At least, it felt freezing cold for San Francisco weather. I walked briskly over to 17th and Potrero and took the 33 Stanyan home from work. Everyone was in a good mood.

Three nurses from SF General helped a woman figure out how to get to Mission and 18th.

At Potrero and 16th a couple of teenagers got on. The girl spent the next 20 minutes shouting into her cell phone: "A las seis y media," she kept repeating. "Si, a las seis y media. Seis y media."
She and her friend tumbled out at 18th and Dolores.

A mom with three kids got on at Castro. One of her little boys fell asleep immediately. The mom kept ruffling his hair saying, "te vas a caer" each time he started sliding down the seat. His little sister started poking his arm, and when that didn't work, the older brother, who was sitting across from them, offered him a handful of Skittles. The boy was still asleep, so the mom and the sister put a few Skittles into his open mouth. That woke him up, sort of. He was still tired, and annoyed at them for waking him. They had the whole bus smiling and watching them.

At Castro the usual bunch of restaurant workers and handsome men filed onto our bus. A woman struggled with a large, cloth-covered animal cage. She slid it under her seat.
A girl with a thick French accent asked, "Is a rabbit?"
The woman shook her head. "Guinea Pig."
The older boy's eyes grew wide. "Guinea Pig?" he asked curiously. The way he said it I had the feeling he had never seen one before.
At the next stop the little boy said, "Can I see it?"
The woman shook her head. "Not on the bus. But if you're getting out at the next stop I'll show you, because I'm getting out, too."
The boy's family was getting out at her stop. As the bus pulled away, I saw that she had made good on her promise: all three kids were bending down on their knees to get a look at the Guinea Pig. The woman had pulled back the cover just enough so that they could see it, and poke their fingers through the cage to pet it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bus Report #128

The bus was packed last night.
The kids from Enola Maxwell were gossiping and debating who's public housing project was cooler. The North Beach kids said their's was best, because they were so close to Chinatown. I had to smile, it was funny.

I had a series of large women with packages sitting beside me.

A boyish girl tried to catch the eye of a girlish boy. I think she was trying to figure out if he was a boy or a girl.

As I was waiting for the 38, an elderly Russian lady came up to me and started tugging on my sleeve. She tried to ask me something in Russian, a language I do not speak. I told her I did not speak Russian, then told her which direction Fillmore Street was, since she kept repeating, "Fillmore! Fillmore!"
She wandered away in the wrong direction. I hope she got where she was going.

Back in the neighborhood I had a slow, easy walk home. I was feeling a little melancholy, but I passed the donut shop and saw the Alien Donut Man, and then I felt much better. I smiled the rest of the way home.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bus Report #127

Uneventful and rainy week.
Several commutes chatting with Carmen or Ebony about the state of MUNI.
Wet seats and stuffy buses.
Yesterday afternoon, I was in the back of the bus with a group of kids. One girl was in her late teens and she was trying to coach the little boys (Everett Middle School kids) how to talk to girls.
"You need to learn some manners," she told them. "Like, say hi, how you doing, I like your hair or something like that. Girls like that." she looked to a couple of middle school girls who were sitting nearby for confirmation. They tried to act disinterested, chewing their gum and playing with their cellphones, but they were listening.
The girl asked the boys if they had girlfriends, and they tried to evade the question, getting embarrassed and mumbling.
"No girlfriends," she said. "that's why you gotta learn manners."

This morning I asked a guy if I could sit in the window seat, the only empty dry seat on the 38. He smiled, said, "Absolutely not," then moved so I could sit down. What a kidder... Not what I need at 7 AM, but that's okay.