Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bus Report #222

Yesterday's afternoon commute was an exercise in patience.
First, a nanny I know from around the neighborhood and I had to run at breakneck speed to catch the 22 Fillmore.
Luckily, the bus was still pretty empty and we were able to get seats.
"We made it," she said, breathlessly, to which I could only nod my agreement while I regained my breath.
The bus was hot. I forced open a couple of windows.

When we reached Bryant the bus got packed:
First, the driver got out and a new driver got on.
Then a whole herd of Safeway shoppers loaded down with plastic grocery sacks got on.
Finally, a young man in a wheelchair needed to get on and no one would move for him.
Instead of clearing the front of the bus like they should have, everyone stood up on their seats so he could get by. A man tried to lift the seats to make room, but they were stuck. A woman with long braids finally managed to get the seats up. The man in the wheelchair positioned his chair and we were off.
At some point, the man's baseball cap fell off. He motioned for help and a girl in a white dress picked it up. She set it on his head with the brim facing forward. "Is that okay?" she asked him.
He nodded.
A little while later, he motioned for the man standing behind him to hand him his backpack. The man standing behind him unzipped the pockets for him and the man in the wheelchair took something out. The man standing behind him then carefully re-zipped all the pockets and hung the pack on the handlebars the way it had been before.

The next few stops seemed to take years instead of minutes. People pushed their way on and off the bus. There were, in my opinion, too many people wearing exercise clothes or last summer's tank tops that were now too tight. Too many sweaty people in fleece jackets who had obviously not seen the weather report that morning. Too many teenagers shouting into cellphones.

At Mission, we idled through three light cycles while our driver waited for every last person in the Mission District to get on the bus.

I looked out the window while we waited for the light to change at Valencia. I saw a beat-up grey pick up truck next to us. A man was hanging out of the passenger side window, and he was looking up at the bus.
I looked down to see who it was.
It was the handsome South Asian chef, only without his baseball cap. His hair was longer and thicker than I would have guessed. When he saw me, he laughed and waved at me.
I smirked and waved back.
This is a tiny city, and it gets tinier each day.


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