Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Alien Donut Man, Part II

There was a period of almost a month where I did not see the Alien Donut Man even once. At first I figured I had just missed him as I shuffled past the donut shop with my groceries.
But as the days passed and I walked by more often than usual, his absence made me sad at first, then worried.
I've always worried about him. He just seems like such a fish out of water, a lonely man (alien? Not alien? Only he knows for sure) sitting by himself in the middle of the donut shop.
I would slow my pace as I got to the corner to make sure I wouldn't miss him.

Last week my efforts were finally, thankfully rewarded.
There he was, in his usual blue windbreaker, sitting ramrod straight in his seat with his Styrofoam cup of coffee and his donuts laid out on top of a napkin.
I peered at him and then looked away before he could catch my eye.

Bus Report #196

Yesterday on my way to work I saw five sofas on the sidewalk.
Some were in pieces, the cushions scattered around.
Some were upended and leaning against buildings.
One had a homeless man sleeping on it.

This morning there were two women on my bus who I could have sworn were actually the same person. Not twins, but literally the same person. Same scarf, same hair pulled in to a severe bun, same shapeless jacket, same gold-rimmed glasses. One sat two rows ahead of me and I did a double take when the second woman squeezed her way onto the bus.

I have run in to the Russian business man four times around the neighborhood. Last weekend I saw him near the bookstore, and not an hour later he was browsing through Haig's when I was on my way out.

I saw Mr. Polite several times, too. Once in the market and once walking down the street. He always nods, politely, and raises his hand in a half-wave, half-salute.

There is a new restaurant across the street from the Fillmore. When they first put in the light-up sign, I could not, COULD NOT read what it said at all. It was weird: like when you see something written in a foreign language and you get a headache trying to guess what it says. Except this was in English.
Finally they put up an awning that I could read clearly. The restaurant is called Juyuso.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bus Report #195

I had a MUNI related dream last night, in two parts.
Part One: Mayhem and the 38 Geary

I dreamt I lived way far out in the avenues, in an apartment that looked suspiciously like my current place. A 38 Geary bus broke down outside, and a horde of teenagers streamed out. They immediately started rioting, overturning trash cans and started breaking in to people's apartments. I quickly locked my front door but a couple of kids broke the door down. I said something to them (can'’t remember what it was) and they left.

Part Two: No One Listens

I dreamt I was on a 22 Fillmore that was headed towards Pacific Heights. I pulled the signaler to get out at Geary and Fillmore but the driver did not stop. I yelled, "hey, man, I want to get out. And before you say anything, yes, I did pull the signaler."
Everyone on the bus (except the driver) laughed. The driver screeched to a halt and I got out with a middle-aged dad and his two adorable adopted daughters who needed to get to school. We walked a couple of blocks and then they went one way and I went the other.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bus Report #194

I have had some excellent bus luck tonight.
First, I was waiting for the 19 Polk (It's Wednesday, Kneedle and Bottle Club night at the Castle) and had the good fortune to bump in to Ramon. It's been a while, but we caught up (quickly, as his bus was approaching) and then parted ways.
My bus came a moment later. The 19 Polk always makes me feel like I should take a decontamination shower when I get out. The passengers are an odd combination of students, professionals, people just out of jail and really creepy crackheads.

At the Castle, someone had put an entire Pixies album on the jukebox. Excellent.

After the Teacher's Pet and I had some grub, a drink and knitted a few rows, we went out to find a cab. I saw the 38 Geary coming towards us. I decided to take it instead of the cab. The Teacher's Pet got a Yellow Cab, I got the 38, and I was home a fast fifteen minutes later.


Odd Requests

Dear readers,

2 requests!

1: Anyone have a good Blueberry Muffin recipe? I'd love one.
2: I am also looking for a set list from Julieta Venegas's November 19th Show at the Fillmore...

Would love any answers!

Bus Report #193

I've been on some speedy, break-neck-and-whiplash busses lately. It's been mostly good. I've seen all the regulars and this morning caught up with L., who works at a sperm bank in my old building. He caught me up on all their gossip. On our bus he sat right in front of me, grooving to his ipod as he always does. He has such a fluid way of moving his head, his shoulders and his arms when he is listening to his music. It's as though he has no bones in his body!

Our bus was late, and we soon realized why. The doors wouldn't close and the driver had to manually shut them at each stop. I dreaded the bus going out of service and was giving it a silent pep talk to at least make it to Mission.


We had to get out at Duboce and crowd onto the bus behind us.
We still got to work on time, but L. and I were not happy about it.

Yesterday afternoon I found myself on a 6 Parnassus bus for the first time in a long time.
It was nice to follow an old route and see the changes (lots of new, 'hip' looking shops in the lower Haight, new signage on some of the older shops, rehabbed Victorians everywhere) and the constants (City Limit's Fashions, GET RID OF THE APOSTROPHE! Chinese food and Middle Eastern food in the same take out place? Can't believe that still exists! The homeless flea market, alive and well).

I took the 6 up to the Haight where I stopped in at American Apparel and Booksmith.
For my three block walk to the shops, I kept my music on and turned up so no one would bug me. It worked.
The Gap in the Haight looks like it's closing. Shock! But no horror! Who needs it anyway!

Lots of gutter punks and their scary dogs hanging around.
Chatted with the girl in Booksmith about sewing (I was looking at sewing books)

Waited for a 33 Stanyan after I was done and luckily one came fast, but it was crowded. Such is the bus rider's life.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bus Report #192

Yesterday morning my commute was smooth, fast, and I saw Carmen for the first time in a month. She has been taking a different bus lately, because it arrives at her stop before the 22 does. I told her she was missed, and then we spent the rest of our ride together gossiping about everything and nothing.

Today my 22 Fillmore was late, with a new driver. The further towards Mission we got, the more crowded the bus became. I was lucky to have an inside seat: the woman sitting next to me in the aisle kept getting knocked in the head by backpacks.
She got completely walloped by a man carrying a duffel the size of a mini fridge.

At my stop I had no choice but to push my way out of the over-full-capacity bus. Apologies to people who got hit by my thermos, but there was nothing I could do, since people didn't want to get out of the step well so I could pass by. I know I say it all the time, but I am amazed, truly amazed by the people who congregate in the step well and don't move. They are nowhere near their stop, usually, yet feel this weird need to be right at the door at all times.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bus Report #191


I got out of my 38 Geary and saw a 22 Fillmore sitting in the crosswalk at Fillmore and Geary. I ran for it, but stopped when I noticed that it was 'off the lines' and there were police cars and reporters milling about.

I was the only person waiting at the stop, and even though I felt bad about doing it, I went over to a knot of MUNI investigators and cops and asked if I would be able to catch a 22 there. They said they would route the buses around the stopped bus.

Eventually there was a crowd of us waiting. The dreadlocked dental technician, the quiet pre-teen and I wondered what had happened. We figured someone must have been hit by the bus in the crosswalk.

This was confirmed by the Watchtower ladies a few minutes later. They offered me their pamphlet as usual, and as usual I politely declined.

I was angry and impatient that when the bus did finally arrive it was late which meant I was going to be late. As we pulled out the of the stop I hoped the person who got hit was okay.

UPDATE: The Chronicle reports that the victim is a 70-year old man who was hit at 6:20 AM but who was conscious when they took him to the hospital. It also says he was underneath the bus when the paramedics arrived.

Bus Report #190

I took the 19 Polk to the Edinburgh Castle last night for a meeting of the Kneedle and Bottle club.
Here's what I saw from the bus window:
A stereotypical working mom, in a suit, heels, carrying a baby in a snugli, a purse and a briefcase.
A trashy woman with teased out hair and a huge, hideous calf tattoo peeking out from under her too-summery-for-this-weather skirt.
A bike messenger who must have wanted to get hit by a bus, he was so close to my window I could see threads of grey hair mixed in with his brown hair.

And inside:
My first seat mate had horrible cold sores all around her mouth. I tried to stay as far away from her as possible.
The seats were sticky from (hopefully) cleaning fluids.
A girl across the aisle kept turning around and staring at me. I tried to ignore her.
My second seat mate decided to stare, too.

The Castle was empty when I got there. Very nice. After a while, the KnB club members arrived and we got down to the business of knitting and having a pint and fish and chips.

The bar filled up in anticipation of a free, live music night.
I noticed someone familiar sitting alone at the bar: It was Confederacy of Dunces Guy! As usual his hair looked as though he had slept on it for days.
He grinned and waved at me with an open hand.
I waved back.

Later, as he left, he waved again.
And so did I.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bus Report #189

Rode the bus with the handsome South Asian chef, the original chef, and too many students.

I sat next to the steely-face man for a while, until he got off at Duboce. He looks like a catfish, I think.

I slid in against the window and was soon joined by a man who decided to sit with his body as open as possible.
His elbow nudged my side and didn't move.
The length of his thigh pressed against the length of mine.
I couldn't move over any more than I already had, so I just dealt with it.

At Church and Market a Shrek doll sat all by itself on a brick bench.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bus Report #188

This morning I was in my usual only-just-awake-headphones-on-fog when I got down to Fillmore.
The Everett kids were already waiting, the dreadlocked dental technician and the handsome South Asian chef. Everyone was standing to one side of the bus stop and I soon realized why.
There was a very loud, belligerent man pacing in the bus stop, quite obviously high on something bad. He had yellowed, bloodshot eyes and every word out of his mouth was a swear or a challenge for us to fight him. Anyone who tried to pass him got yelled at, and he got up in their face.
A couple of the sewing ladies cringed and walked as far away as they could.
"What you looking at?" seemed to be his favorite phrase, aside from some I can't print here.
Finally our bus came and the rest of us climbed on.
As we pulled away he shot me a glare through the window. I just rolled my eyes and shook my head.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bus Report #187

Back to normal.
I rode the 22 today with the chef (bright gold-colored watch cap, green Sierra Nevada sweatshirt), the handsome South Asian chef (slept with his hood up in the back of the bus), the sewing ladies, the day laborers, the Mission High, Everett and ISA students.

At Safeway the PG&E employee in line in front of me was buying a pregnancy test. I hope she gets the result she wants.

The Potrero Center Peet's made my morning, as usual. I am at work now, after a brisk walk down into Potrero Hill. The leaves falling from the trees are some of the most brilliant colors I have ever seen. I wanted to take them all with me.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Wishing you excellent bus luck and a good seat on MUNI in 2007!