Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bus Report #140

Last week was quiet and lovely since the kids were all on spring break.

Last Friday:

I was on a very crowded 22 Fillmore bus on Friday morning. Carmen and I were sitting in the front and we decided it must have been crowded because our favorite morning driver was on vacation or something. We spent our ride talking about all our past and present favorite drivers.
When it was time for me to get out, I pushed my way towards the back door with a few other people.
It was hard because, as always, there were people blocking the step well. We didn't make it to the door in time and our driver started to pull away.
We all shouted, "Back door! Back door!" and finally he stopped and let us out. As I made my way down the stairs, I felt as though I was being pulled back into the bus, not a feeling I wanted to have. I was even more determined than ever to get away from the bus so I strode forward a few more feet. I felt a tug on my jacket and then heard a 'ziiipp' sound. Someone's elastic cord from a backpack had somehow gotten looped over one of the buttons on my jacket, basically keeping me tethered to the bus! As the elastic cord snapped back, I mumbled 'sorry,' to the man in the step well, but I wasn't really sorry. He shouldn't have been standing there in the first place!

Monday afternoon:

It was gorgeous yesterday, all blue sky and a bite in the air but not even a hint of rain. I had no problem waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the 22 Fillmore, which just didn't seem to be coming. At least I was able to chat with Ramon while we waited. A bus came, but it was full, so we decided to wait a little longer. We wanted to be able to sit down, and it wasn't going to happen on the full bus.
Five minutes later we are happily ensconced in front-facing seats in the rear of the bus. We were in the middle of talking when a woman struggled towards the back of the bus with a gigantic suitcase. She knocked it into Ramon's legs and my feet as she tried to pull it in against the window. She finally got settled, apologized to all of us in the back of the bus.
It was no problem, and we told her so. We continued our conversation, discussing what we would probably have for dinner.
The woman said, "Oh, I had the best dinner last night, and wine in a box from Safeway, oh boy was it good. I'm usually a Budweiser person, but this Zinfandel was real nice."
For the rest of our shared ride, the three of us talked about food, the woman's six kids, and what we would have for dinner. The woman's daughter sat behind us definitely did not want anyone to know she was related to her. It was funny.

This morning:

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire. There are events marking the commemoration all over the city, so MUNI is free all day. Funny, though, that those of us who ride everyday still flashed our passes at the driver and many people walked to the rear of the bus stuffing unused fare into their pockets.

And lastly, and earthquake reflection:

I have only experienced minor tremors here in San Francisco during the past six years (thankfully!). The only real earthquake I ever felt was the one that rocked El Salvador several years ago. I was in northern Nicaragua, in a town called Quetzalguaque, with my friends and family. We were working together to provide optometric services to the people of the community.
We were in the middle of our clinic when we felt it. At first I thought it was the rumbling of a train or an airplane, but when all the townspeople ran out into the courtyard and the street we realized it was something serious. I ended up standing under a scraggly tree with the woman we had been examining, and her children. the tremor lasted about a minute or so. The woman clutched my arm. She was mumbling under her breath, praying.
It stopped just as suddenly as it started. We took a break for a few minutes and then got back to work.
Soon after, I was screening a man who told me he had been in Managua during the devastating quake there, and Mexico City during their quake, where he had been trapped under a bed for a few hours. That would have been crazy enough, but then he mentioned that he had been in LA during their quake, too.
That night, after a long drive to Managua (our group riding in two minibuses, one of which died, later, getting stopped by police outside Managua)we learned of the tragedy in El Salvador. What we had felt had been aftershocks.


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