Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bus Report #271

Fuckin' Al!

So last night I took a 33 Stanyan bus to the Mission, to meet up with some friends for my birthday dinner.
I got on at my usual stop, and a few stops later we pulled into the Arguello and Geary stop. A man in a wheelchair got on. He was very quiet, was probably in his late thirties or early forties but he looked much older, and sick. He pulled the hood of his parka up over his head. He buckled in and we kept on going.
At Haight and Cole a man got on, we'll call him the Black-Clad Kansan (BCK). BCK was wearing a black leather jacket over a faded black shirt and a pair of tight black jeans. His black hair was long and messy, and stringy. He had a sickly greenish pallor to him. Maybe it was the light on the bus (never flattering), or maybe it wasn't.
He loudly asked the driver if our bus would go to 18th and Valencia. The driver said yes. BCK paid his fare and stepped into the bus. He was barely past the fare box when he pointed his fingers like guns at the guy in the wheelchair and said, "I know you man, I know you."
The man in the wheelchair mumbled something. BCK smiled and said, "Fuckin' Al! I can't believe it's you! Fuckin' Al, man!"
He put his stuff down on a seat near the wheelchair and thrust his hand down to shake Al's hand. They shook. BCK said, "Man, this city, I tell you, I had to go back to fuckin' Kansas man, and I just got back, and here you are, Al, I can't believe I'm seeing you again after all this time."
BCK handed Al some money. "You keep that as a bookmark or something, hey, Al? You still smoke Al?" he asked, and he handed Al a pack of cigarettes.
Al mumbled something else.
BCK continued his amazing (to yours truly) monologue. "Al, I got this, you know, this website and you know, I put like, all my poems and short stories on there, and you were a total inspiration to me, man! I put some of my poems about you up on the site, and my readers man, they really loved them. I put those photos up too, remember, from that day we spent together? When we had a few beers, some chips, some smokes? You remember that, Al?" BCK reached for Al's hand again. He brought it up to his lips and kissed it. "Man, I got my camera with me, mind if I get a few shots? Man, my readers will be so totally blown away if I put this up..."
Al must have agreed to another photo shoot, because BCK immediately went to stand behind Al, leaning in close and taking three or four quick snapshots.
A woman with a huge, brown and white pit bull got on at Castro. BCK and Al started petting the dog, who wagged his tail excitedly. The woman tried to pull the dog into a seat.
"Come on, Turtle, let's go," she said.
A mom with a little boy got on. The baby started pointing at the dog and tried to say "woof, woof."
BCK said, "Aw, man, this is so beautiful, this dog is bringing together me and Al, and this kid, and it's just so nice."
The woman nodded.
At 18th and Dolores the driver jumped out to fix the poles.
BCK grabbed Al's hand again for another kiss. Then he went to the door.
"You take care man, you hear me? I want to see you again, Al, so you stay healthy, you hear?"
and then BCK was gone.

I kept waiting for him to mention his website's name, I'd love to see it. But he didn't. So sad.

Also seen on the bus this week:
The grown woman who wears the frilly dresses.
The man who looks familiar from the back.


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