Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bus Report #264

It was so dark out this morning that several times during my commute I thought, 'wait, is it 7 AM or 7 PM? Where am I going?'
Bring on Daylight Saving Time, that's what I say.
It was a quiet commute this morning, nothing interesting happened. Perhaps everyone else was still asleep, too?

If you were planning to take MUNI or BART to Halloween in the Castro this year, you're out of luck.
Not only are we all being encouraged, poorly, to stay home for Halloween but supposedly the 16th Street BART station will be closing early. No Halloween for you.

And there's this MUNI Halloween notice that doesn't make sense to me.
Here's a highlight: 'Due to the cancellation of Halloween in the Castro, MUNI service will be affected.'
So there's no Halloween in the Castro, but there are going to be MUNI service delays.
And if there WAS Halloween in the Castro, there would be service delays, just like every year.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bus Report #263

Yesterday I used Next Bus to look up when I could catch a 44 O'Shaughnessy bus. Next Bus told me I had 17, 25, or 67 minutes. I chose 25.
I speed-walked down to 6th and Clement, and waited in the bus shelter with a couple of girls who had just bought Halloween costumes, some grandmas carrying groceries that weighed more than they did, and a chubby little boy and his mom.
The bus came in 25 minutes exactly, a miracle!
It was really pretty excellent. I am always surprised when Next Bus works.
I got on the bus and realized immediately that it was one of the new hybrid buses, like what I've rode on in Boston.
The whole bus can be entered/exited on street level, but the back of the bus is up a couple of steps and has seats lining both windows.
It was spacious and no one had a problem with the stairs in the back.
The only complaints I have about the new buses: the signalers are really high up so you have to stretch to reach them, and the back door opens only if you touch the door, and sometimes it didn't seem to work very well.
Otherwise, I like them.
Wouldn't want to see one crowded, though.

This morning was dark, grey and with wisps of fog blowing around.
I caught a 38 and sat near the front.
The teen girl got a haircut. She has bangs now.
One of the sewing ladies got a perm. Not a good one, unfortunately.

The handsome South Asian chef got on at his usual stop.
He saw me, said "Hey, how are you?"
I replied, "good, you?"
And then he moved back to the rear of the bus.

On the 22 Fillmore, I had one of the regulars sitting next to me.
This woman is very odd looking: She always wears dark sunglasses even in the morning, very frilly little-girl style dresses and usually uncomfortable-looking flat shoes.
No matter what the weather is, she has an off-white fleece jacket on.
She sat down and was so still I thought she had fallen asleep. Then I saw her eyes were wide open behind her glasses. She stared straight ahead.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Baseball Report

We're one game away from making history, again.
Damn, we're good.
Go, Sox!

And, unrelated, go visit the Foggy City Mommy and send her get well wishes...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bus Report #262

On Saturday M. and I were trying to take a 43 Masonic from Masonic and Turk to Cole Valley.
We'd just done our bit by giving blood at the Irwin Center (If you're eligible, may I nudge you to make an appointment? As usual, supplies are low.) and wanted to get some lunch.
After waiting a full half an hour, we decided we'd be better off walking.
It turned out to be the right decision.
We walked all the way over to Cole Valley and did not see any 43 Masonics going in our direction.
There were at least 5 people waiting at each stop, too.
No good.

After lunch, feeling refreshed and ready to face the world, I went across the street to the 43 Masonic stop. Two girls in their early teens sat in the bus shelter, sharing headphones and singing 'Let It Be' in sweet high-pitched voices.
I asked them how long they had been waiting.
"One hour so far," said the chattier of the two.

Five minutes later the bus came, and it was crowded. We squeezed on. I moved to the back, accidentally stepping on someone's foot.
An overly made up high school girl wearing too-tight, too-small clothes sucked her teeth at me and cut her heavily-mascaraed eyes at me.
I ignored her.
She and her friends got out at Haight and I managed to get a seat.

At Haight and Masonic a mom with 3 little kids got on. Mom had the baby in a sling. The little girl and little boy stood right in front of me, trying to stay close to Mom on the crowded bus.
The little girl smiled at me and said, "this is a really crowded bus!"
I told her, "It’s a good thing you're little so you can fit."
She smiled. "We're going to the toy store!" she said. Her little brother nodded enthusiastically.
"Lucky you," I said.
"We have a 25 dollar gift card," she explained. "6 dollars for me, 6 for Tony, and the rest for her." she gestured at her baby sister.
Mom said, "For diapers."
The got off at Masonic and Geary.

Later that day, as I waited for a 2 Clement for way too long, I decided to find out what was going on. I mean, weekend buses are never good, but this was ridiculous.
So I called 311 and was immediately connected to an apologetic woman who told me the 43 Masonic had 'a lot of buses out of service' that day. As for the 2 Clement, she promised it would be there in a minute.

Were the 43 Masonic drivers on a sick out like the dispatchers were the other day?
It's hard to say but honestly how many buses can be out of service on the same line, on the same day?

The 2 Clement did come a few minutes later.
It lurched down the street, stopping short at the lights and trying to give us all whiplash.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bus Report #261

It seems darker and darker out every morning, these days.
Yesterday I waited in the dark with Nikolas for the 38. It was early, which was nice.

The handsome South Asian chef was on the bus, too, but he sat towards the front and looked distracted.

On the 22 Fillmore, Carmen was sitting in an aisle seat, saving the inside seat for me (she 'saves' it with her backpack... just like in grade school).
We caught up and chatted the whole ride.

This morning Carmen saved me a seat again. She had to go shopping before work, to get ingredients to cook for her students.

At Valencia, the creepy boy with the full beard and shaggy hair got on. He's at the height of the full beard-shaggy hair cycle. Next week he'll have shaved them both off. He's like clockwork, that one.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bus Report #260

Rode the bus tonight with Ebony.
We were both exhausted and our conversation reflected this.
One of us would talk, pause, pause, pause, then the other one of us would reply.

I caught a 38L from downtown and sat close to the window listening to the last ever episode of KQEDs Pacific Time program. It's gone off the air. I am sad, sad.

The bus ride was fast, partially due to the driver skipping stops and not bothering to stop even when people were running to catch the bus.

I got out at 6th and decided to walk.
There was a pack of us walking up 6th to Clement.
I walked almost next to a gangly teenage boy and a few paces ahead of a couple of the sewing ladies.
Clement Street felt subdued. I couldn't tell if it was because of the weather or the change in the light.
The guy from the meditation center who I see all over town playing guitar was stationed at 7th and Clement. He was playing guitar and singing.
No one was paying attention to him.

Further down Clement a cop was writing a ticket to one of the homeless guys who is usually crashed out in a doorway or flat on his stomach in the middle of the street.
The cop didn't say anything, just scribbled.
The man, who gets sicker and worse off every day, babbled incoherently to the cop.
I thought, this guy doesn't need a ticket, he needs a bed in a clinic.
There is something horribly wrong with him. Has been for years.

I kept walking.
As I got close to my block another pair of homeless guys came by. They were both sunburned bright red in the face. One of them pushed a shopping cart while the other one ambled ahead, clutching a brown paper bag.
The one pushing the shopping cart saw me and said, "hey, beautiful, where you going?"
I ignored him and kept walking.
His friend said, "shut up, Murray, and lets get going."

Bus Report #259

I waited for the 38 Geary the other day and was spacing out when Nikolas walked over.
"Morning, Rachel," he said. "I discovered something this morning."
"Oh yeah?" I asked. "What did you discover at 6:30 AM?"
"Well, I only drink milk in my coffee but this morning I noticed the milk had gone bad. Do you know what I did?"
I did not.
"I had some ice cream in the freezer, so I put a few spoonfuls in my coffee cup and then added the coffee. It worked great! I never have to buy milk again."
"What flavor was the ice cream?" I asked him.
"Oh, something vanilla with bubblegum flavoring."
But hey, if it works for Nikolas, that's all that matters, right?
I picture him stocking his freezer with all sorts of flavors or ice cream, just in case he wants a mocha or something with a fruity or vanilla-y flavor...
Oh, my.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bus Report #258

This morning I was lazy and left my house a minute later than usual. I had to feel my way downstairs (the lights haven't been re-timed for the dark mornings yet) and when I got to the end of my street I could see the 38 going by.
Thanks, MUNI!
I quickly walked up to the next stop, where the 38 and the 38L both stop. Nikolas was there and he asked me what I was doing at that stop.
"Missed the regular," I told him.
He nodded, having been there, done that plenty of times himself.
"Looks like there's something coming," he said.
A regular 38 pulled up with a 38L right behind it. I got on the regular, Nikolas got on the 38L.
Oddly enough, even though I got to Fillmore 10 minutes later than usual, all the usual suspects were still waiting for the bus.
I let the teen and the slightly younger teen get on first, then went to claim my seat against the window towards the back.
There is a super shiny, very, very well lit (almost eerily, police station-y so) new restaurant on Fillmore near Harput's. It's called Jubili, and if I ever need a pick-me-up before getting on the 22, I think I might just stop in. They apparently specialize in frozen yogurt and cereal, which seems very odd but also kind of cool.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bus Report #257

The handsome South Asian chef is cooking again.

He was on the bus this morning, hair pulled back in a ponytail, chef's knife back slung over his shoulders.
As usual, it was nice to see him.

It was an uneventful ride today, so I spent my time listening to music and staring out the window.
Fifty 24 SF has a new exhibit and it looks colorful and great.
There is a new yoga studio at 16th and Dolores, where there used to be a garage.
The Rainbo discount bread store is closed, and to keep people away from the empty building there is a shiny new fence around it. People seem to like leaning on it. I know I would.

There is an exciting new MUNI ad campaign I want to tell everyone about, but I will try to get some photos first.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bus Report #256

Last night I waited 30 minutes for a 28 bus down on Lombard Street.
While I waited, there were 4 22 Fillmores I could have caught.
But no, I waited, working on the assumption that taking the 28 would get me home faster.
I don't think I'll test this out again next week.

This morning I had a pleasant surprise on the 22 Fillmore.
Carmen was sitting in the back, and she had saved me a seat. We chatted and caught up, and then she rummaged in her bag and took out a small wrapped package.
"It's just a little souvenir from my last trip home," she said. "I didn't know if I would see you so I've been carrying it around for a while."
I was so surprised! I unwrapped my present. It was a beautiful ceramic container with a sunburst on the top. I thanked her profusely and gave her a hug.

At my stop I got out of the bus, walking a few feet behind the man who looks familiar from the front and back. I expected him to cross the street with me but he turned and went in the opposite direction.