Friday, June 27, 2008

Bus Report #345

Last night I walked to catch the 21 Hayes on Fulton, so I could go see the Teacher's Pet and the rest of the Devilettes at Rickshaw Stop.
I figured I'd have to wait while the bus idled for a while, but luckily I was able to get right on and we took off immediately.
Smooth and surprisingly fast ride down to Hayes Valley.

Later, after the show (which was great and fun and just generally a good time) I tried to hail a cab, but it wasn't happening.
I walked back to Hayes to wait for the 21. It came in less than five minutes, and while I waited I talked with a woman who had just left some out of town friends at their Civic Center hotel.
I got on and stood towards the back, rather than sit next to a series of extremely large people who were taking up too much room on double seats.
The bus emptied out by the time we hit Stanyan.
A drunk girl and her boyfriend stumbled out at 6th and Cabrillo.
I got out at the next stop and walked down the street towards home.
At Geary, I automatically turned left to walk near the funeral home.
There were two police cars with flashing lights surrounding a parked car, and two cops were yelling at the person/people in the car to "get out of the fucking car now!"
There was a guy walking near me and he looked at me and said, "Maybe we should walk a different way, since they have guns."
I couldn't really argue with that, even though the guns were still securely holstered (from what I could see).
We cut up the street towards Clement, not walking together but more like walking parallel to each other.
"How was the work today?" he asked me, finally.
The work? I smiled.
"The work was okay," I said.
"Yes, for me, too," he said. "But slow, you know, very slow."
I told him I hoped his Friday would be faster. He disappeared through the Smart and Final parking lot and I kept walking.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bus Report #344

Back in SF after a wonderful trip to Boston.
I miss the screech of the T as it rounds corners, but I don't miss the pay as you go aspect of the Charlie Card.
Fast Passes all the way, baby.
This morning the air was full of smoke from the wildfires, and the sun was a sickly orange color.
I waited at my stop with the bus flagger and the man from the couple who only ever go a couple of stops.
The smiley driver pulled up, ignored the bus flagger and let me on.
She has a new perm, it looks a little bit.... Jaunty?
She shook her head and rolled her eyes while she tried not to laugh at the bus flagger.
"Nice to see you," she said.
My commute was uneventful in every way, which was nice after only getting a few hours sleep after getting in late last night.
At Potrero I mailed some letters and went to Safeway for some lunch stuff.
Drama at Safeway!
I was in the line getting ready to pay, and the cashier called her manager and said, "there's a guy walking around stuffing things into a paper bag, I think he's stealing."
The manager immediately got security and they went off, somewhere outside of my scope of vision.
Suddenly, there was what I can only describe as a fracas.
The thief ran for the door and was rammed by a shopping cart, after the security guy told a customer to 'hit him'.
The thief dropped the bag and tried to escape, but the security guard grabbed him.
They fought for a moment, the tall thief and the short security guard, and the thief managed to get away.
He ran off, and the manager ran after him.
A woman picked up the bag and looked in it. "It's just candy," she said. "It's full of candy."
Welcome home.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bus Report #343

I'm on vacation in Boston for the week, so I'm riding the T.
This morning we walked up to catch the T, and there was a T worker standing at the stop with a machine he used to scan our Charlie Cards. Cool.
The new T cars are much smaller than the old ones, and they have two levels. There's a little more room for standing but sitting? Forget it.
At 8 AM our train wasn't crowded.
People read books, one woman clutched an orchid.
There are a lot of renovations going on, and Kenmore station looked even crappier than before. The last time they even gave Kenmore a coat of paint was back in 98, when I worked at Waterstone's. Ten years ago.
We got out at Arlington (also under construction, looking so horrible it would be a great set for some sort of apocalyptic future end of the world movie.
We walked down a long, tiled tunnel and emerged onto Berkeley Street. The sun was out, the air was fresh, it was nice.
Later on, after spending the day walking around, we caught the C line at Park Street. It was crowded, full of a school group from Wisconsin on a trip. They tumbled out of the train, suitcases backpacks and duffel bags in hand, at Hynes Convention Center.
A man stood in the front of the T car, right up next to where the driver sits.
"Sir, you're going to have to move, I can't see the rear window, you're in the way," said the conductor. His Boston accent pronounced rear as 'reah'.
Ah, home.
It's good to be here.
SF posts to resume late next week. In the meantime, dispatches from vacation as they happen.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bus Report #342

Smooth and quiet bus ride this morning.
The 22 was almost empty.
The catfish face man sat two rows ahead of me, the brother and sister who go to Mission and Everett sat in the front of the bus and the little tiny 9th grader sat in the back with his skateboard.
A youngish guy sat by the back door.
He had a fresh tattoo on his wrist and he rubbed bacitracin into it.
Then he reached into his bag and pulled out his knitting.
He was working on a beautiful, thick scarf in cornflower blue yarn. He had metallic blue straight needles but I couldn't see what size they were.
His bag overflowed with yarn.
He knit fast, in a different style than the way I knit. A better method, I thought, suddenly feeling like the worst knitter ever.
Then I perked up, remembering how easy it is for me to magic loop knit, when other people find it hard.
He got out at Market and Church.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bus Report #341

Today on the 38:
I waited with the bus flagger, who waved frantically, as usual, at the 38L and then at the 38 regular. She was passed by courtesy of the Smiley driver, who pulled up right in front of me, laughed and let me on.

And then the 22:
Waited at the stop with the sewing lady and the man who likes to push in front of everyone.
The bus came and the driver, a new regular driver, pulled up right in front of me and opened the door.
The pushing guy tried to elbow in front of me, but I didn't let him.
As I got on, the driver winked at me.
I sat next to the woman who looks like a model.
Carmen's coworker sat behind us, her huge tote bag making it impossible for anyone else to sit there.
The neck tattoo woman got on at Eddy.
She sat down and immediately jumped up: there must have been something on the seat.
She spent the rest of the ride warning people not to sit there.
At Mission Street, a very old, very dirty man got on.
He looked like he had just stepped out of a coal mine, he was coated with grime.
He sat down next to the catfish face man.
Not a minute later, the worst rotten trash smell started spreading through the bus.
People moved around, I opened the window, but curiously no one else did.
I breathed through my mouth for the rest of my ride.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bus Report #340

I was on a 38 Geary last weekend that was covered in those ads for the T-Third line. If you live here, you've seen them.
They're not BAD ads, but I think they must be trying to use them up or something because on my bus they had about 10 of the same exact ad running down one side of the bus to connect to another set of 5 of another ad.
The other side of the bus had the ads running in a pattern, but still, come on!
It was a little funny.

That same bus stank to high heaven, of sweat, old food, cigarettes and a skunk (or skunky pot?) and there was a homeless man sprawled out on a seat in the middle section. He was mumbling something that I couldn't decipher.
A woman sitting a few seats away muttered, "How about a breath mint?" and cut her eyes at him, angrily.

Last night on my way home I sat pressed up against the window of the 38.
The window was stuck shut, and the bus was stuffy.
Nothing happened, not really, but by the time we hit Van Ness it was way too crowded and it didn't matter how loud I had the volume up on my headphones, people were just so loud.
I escaped at my first opportunity: 6th Ave and Geary.