Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bus Report #377

Yesterday I took a crowded 38L to Masonic to go to Trader Joe's. I had an aisle seat and got hit in the arm and head with bags more times than I can count.
While we were still downtown, I saw guys dressed as Greek warriors riding segways and handing out coupons for Greek yogurt (or maybe it was samples, I couldn't see that well).

There were a lot of people standing near Montgomery BART with 'No on Prop. 8' signs. Some passed out stickers and others were just asking people to vote No.
Fog City Notes wholeheartedly endorses 'No on Prop. 8'. If you are still on the fence about this, ask yourself these questions: Why should we take away basic civil and human rights? Why treat our family and friends differently? Why should a committed gay union deserve less respect than (for example) Madonna and Guy Ritchie's short-lived and ill-fated marriage? Most importantly, how could gay marriage ever possibly put your marriage or family in jeopardy?
(Please don't send me any angry or mean comments. I respect your political decisions even if I don't agree with them. Please respect mine. That is what democracy is all about.)

I was glad to get out of my crowded bus and go to the store, even though the lines were insane.
Afterwards, I went back to the bus stop to wait for a 38 regular. There were lots of people waiting, mostly other Trader Joe's shoppers. A 38L came, and they all piled in.
Seconds later, the 38 regular came and got the 3 of us that were still waiting.
I saw Mr. Polite for the first time in a long time. He looked at me and nodded his head in acknowledgment, politely.

This morning I was sleepy. I sat next to a woman who spent our whole 38 ride putting on her makeup, including false eyelashes. It was not the same woman I usually sit next to who does this, but someone else.
I listened to Radio Lab on my headphones. Listen to it, you won't be sorry. And make sure to pledge your support while you're checking out their website.
The 22 Fillmore came, and all our regulars were on it:
Catfish face man
Whitney, in a black trench coat and a bright blue beret
The guy with the Tully's coffee
The mom with the little son who goes to the Catholic School
The postal workers who stand in the step well and make it impossible to get out the bus
The recovering addict/Neck Tattoo lady/Guy who always gets out at Turk

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bus Report #376

Familiar Faces.

I took the 22 Fillmore home last week for the first time in a while. I was waiting to cross the street when I saw the man standing next to me looking at me. It was Rudy, the guy that saw me at the Julieta Venegas show a couple weeks ago who had asked if I rode the 22 Fillmore.
"Hey," I said, smiling at him. "Julieta show, right?"
"Right," he said.
"It was good, wasn't it?" I asked.
"Yeah," he replied. "Really good."
We crossed the street together and went our separate ways.

Yesterday afternoon I got on a plane from LA to SF to come home after a great weekend at the Professor Eric-JD house.
I started to make my way to the coach section when I caught sight of a familiar, disturbing beard in the first row of first class.
It was the guy with the creepy red beard who rides the 22 in the morning.
I smiled at him (even though his beard freaks me out), but he didn't register any recognition.
Probably for the best.

I didn't see him when we landed. Wondered if he took BART home.

While in LA, we availed ourselves of the Metro and the bus. The bus was incredibly easy for M. and I, we got on right in front of the Metro station, paid our $1.25 (I asked about a transfer, the driver must have thought I was nuts, or at the very least a tourist, which I was) and went to sit down. The bus wasn't crowded, mostly young women with babies, men on their way to work, and a few elderly people. The bus stopped and the driver called out, "Whoever wanted Silverlake Blvd., we're here."
M. and I could have gone a few more stops, but decided to get out, since the driver had been nice enough to let us know when we got to the stop.

Saturday we took the Metro downtown to go to the Museum of Neon Art (so cool, if you're in LA, you should check it out).
We rode to Pershing Square and then got out and walked the rest of the way. It was very convenient and as usual downtown LA was bustling and a real center of activity. So great. The museum is in an old bank building, with torn-up ceilings and a half-tiled, half-linoleum floor. We thought it was great, for a temporary space.
J. met us there, and I was so glad to see him. It's been way, way too long.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bus Report #375

Three days worth of MUNI-related observations for you...

Saturday night I took the 38 downtown to go to the Julieta Venegas show at the Warfield.
The show was good, fun, and I like the new renovations at the Warfield. But I don't like or appreciate $7 beers after I've already bought a concert ticket with ticketing fees.
I was standing downstairs sort of to the right. A guy standing behind me tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around.
"Excuse me," he said, "But you ride the 22, don't you? I see you there sometimes."
I nodded. "Yeah, I do," I told him. I tried to remember who he was but I had no idea. I asked him where he gets on the bus in the morning, and he said he gets on at my stop! I swear I didn't recognize him, and I felt bad about it. I told him I'd see him on the bus and to enjoy the show.

Sunday J.M. and I caught a 33 Stanyan heading towards the Castro and Mission.
At Stanyan a family with a bunch of little kids got on, as well as a pleasant-looking woman who smelled awful (and sat right behind us, yuck!) and a guy with plastic bags from Amoeba and his friend/boyfriend.
The bus started to turn onto Ashbury but there was an SUV parked in the red zone and the bus couldn't turn.
The driver of the SUV got out and started to walk down Ashbury. This guy was big, bald, and looked like a typical tourist. He was wearing shorts, while J.M. and I were cozy in our coats and gloves.
The bus driver opened the door and said, "You've got to move your vehicle, or I can't get the bus by. You're in a red zone, anyway." The SUV guy stared at the bus driver blankly but made no move to get back in his car.
The bus driver repeated what he had just said. Still, the SUV guy pretended like he hadn't heard what the driver said.
"Fine, you'll see," said the bus driver. He started to turn and would have taken the SUV with him if he kept going.
The Amoeba-bag guy started yelling at the SUV guy, "Move your fucking car!"
The dad with the little kids yelled at the Amoeba-bag guy, "Hey, don't use that kind of language, there are kids on this bus."
People on the sidewalk laughed and watched the whole thing. A couple more bus riders yelled, too (I might have been one of them).
After a small crowd had gathered, the SUV guy got in his car and peeled away, heading up the street.
A fine MUNI moment, I thought.
The Amoeba-bag guy complained to his friend/boyfriend/seatmate about the dad having told him off.

It's Columbus Day, so a lot of people have the day off. Not me, though.
And it seems like maybe... like maybe all the weirdos in the City are out in full force today.
My 22 was pretty empty and we sped through the Fillmore. At Turk, a woman who was obviously off her rocker high or crazy or high and crazy got in the bus. She was laughing hysterically, and waved a scrap of a blue sheet around. She sat on one of the seats in the front. She lay down on it. She rolled around, kicked her legs into the air.
The driver ignored her. The few of us riders regarded her warily. She kept laughing and moving around, and finally at Church and Duboce she actually seemed to fly off the bus. She lurched across the street, waving her blanket scrap like a ribboned baton.

At Valencia and 16th, the woman from the Vietnamese restaurant was hosing off the sidewalk. Right outside of the range of her hose, a man was peeing into a trash can. Lovely.

I got out at my usual spot, skirted a couple of people rooting through trashcans.
A woman in skintight jeans, a cropped top and tall shoes walked by. She greeted everyone with an exuberant "Good morning to you!"

I crossed the parking lot. A man was standing in the middle of it, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He stared at Safeway but didn't move. The woman was right behind me and she came around in front and "Good Morning"-ed him, too.

I decided to walk the rest of the way to work without headphones on. It seemed like the kind of morning to have my full wits about me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bus Report #374

Average week on MUNI, not much to report.
Monday night was the Stars show at the Fillmore.
On the way down on the 38, I ran in to R., who I haven't seen in years. We chatted for a couple of minutes. He's doing great and looking good, still as friendly and genuine as ever.
After the show (which was excellent), J. and I managed to catch a 38 back up to the neighborhood.
I love when MUNI is easy, and nothing was easier than taking MUNI to the show on Monday.

The rest of this week has been uneventful.
The usual cast of characters on the bus each day:
Catfish face man
Recovering addict
Neck tattoo woman
Guy who gets off at Turk
Woman who can't be any older than 30 with her 4 kids, who are between 6 and 15 years old
Pushy postal workers (shouldn't they be WALKING their routes?)
Cor-o-van guys
And yours truly.

This morning I was waiting to cross Vermont and there was an empty Guinness bottle lying in the gutter. On the other side of the street, in the opposite gutter, there was another Guinness bottle. I appreciated the symmetry.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bus Report #373

And now for a dispatch from one of our far-flung-public-transit-riding-correspondents.
This just in from Lindita in DC. She wants me to tell you this is on the Orange line train from Virginia to DC. Just a random smattering of her observations about her fellow commuters. Also, she just had a birthday, so Happy Birthday to You, Lindita!

Lindita's Observations:

1) Guy who over-products or never washes his hair. He has this longish bowl hair cut. Which he holds back with a elastic headband. But did I mention how greasy it looks? He's Asian and wears worn khakis and a bright polo shirt.

2) Guy who works in the Congressional Affairs office. We ride the metro together, we ride the elevator up, we don't talk. He's a twenty-something guy who works in that whole Schmoozy field . . . Ah--I am so glad I don't talk to twenty-something guys.

3) Blind lady with black lab. Her dog dotes on her. And when they're stopped on the metro, she always pets him and he's so happy. *sigh*

4) Pushy Biggie. I am not a sizist. But there's this ONE lady who is larger who likes to push and schmoosh - when the train is packed - from one end to the other. I don't understand is why she doesn't stand farther back on the platform and get to the place she needs to be?

Thanks, Lindita, keep us posted on what happens on the Orange line...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bus Report #372

I was waiting at the bus stop, staring off into space at the building that used to house Mad Dogs and Englishmen (I think this was the name... 17th and De Haro... Anyone remember if that name is right?) when suddenly a familiar face was about two inches away from mine.
It was Ramon, looking amazing as usual, designer glasses, ironed jeans, crisp white shirt (still crisp after a long day at work, how does he do it?) shined, expensive-looking leather lace-up shoes.
"Hello, long time no see," he said.
"Hey!" I said. I gave him a hug and then said, "What's going on?"
"Oh, you know, the usual," he said. Then, "I can't believe I had to miss another of your parties. I am always busy!"
"Get me your schedule for next time," I teased.
His bus came and he got on it.
"See you later," I called after him.

On my way to the library I noticed a ton of people getting on the bus in costumes. Too early for Halloween (well, in SF it's never too early, but you know what I mean) and at first I thought it was some sort of USF fraternity thing. As more and more people got on though, I remembered that the Love Parade was this weekend. I think. Anyway, everyone was laughing and talking and a couple girls in sequined dresses and boas were drinking out of red party cups.
My favorite costumes were:
A girl dressed as Rainbow Brite
A boy in a top hat, lots of eye makeup and glitter (Maybe going as the emcee from Cabaret? Not sure)
And a few kids dressed as hippies, but really, really clean and well groomed ones.
As I got out the bus I said (to two girls in tube tops and their male friend in a fringed suede vest) "Have a great time today."
They said, "You bet we will."

On my way home, I was on the most crowded, hottest 38L I have ever been on. Some drunk dude stood behind me and kept leaning on me. I won't lie: I kept pushing him off with my shoulders. The man to my left stood perfectly still, stoic.
The woman to my right had a hard to decipher neck tattoo and was reading a book that looked interesting. I wish I remembered what it was called.
We eventually got moving and luckily the drunk guy got out at the next stop.
I managed to get a seat.
The bus started to thin out.
Across from me, two of the stockboys (well, they were my age so what, stockmen?) from New May Wah were talking to each other in Spanish.
The woman who had been sitting next to them stood up to leave.
Oh, my.
She was wearing too-tight jeans that were still managing to hang off her ass (magic!), so the guys and I unfortunately caught a glimpse of her ass, and her extremely unflattering thong.
I turned away and winced. I just couldn't help it. The guys noticed my response. One of them started laughing uncontrollably. the other one nodded at me, in agreement. I shook my head and rolled my eyes.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bus Report #371

On my way home last night I decided to take a 22, since it was not too crowded and Next Bus told me my 10 Townsend was going to be a while longer.
I sat next to a day laborer guy for a few stops, until Mission Street. He didn't make a move to get up, even though he had shouldered his backpack and adjusted his ball cap. I asked him if it was his stop, moved out of the way as he got out, and then slid into the window seat.
Just in time, too, as a crowd of people pushed onto the bus.
A woman in a mint green top and a pair of olive green khakis came and sat beside me. I recognized her as working in the New May Wah supermarket in my neighborhood.
All was well for about two minutes, when she started playing with her hair.
Not just pulling her hair into a better ponytail, no tucking a lose strand behind her ear.
Instead, she ran her hand through the right side of her hair, looked at her hand and pulled off any lose strands, measured them, and then did the same on the left side of her hair.
Not just once or twice, but over and over and over for the whole rest of the ride (she got out at Geary).
I cannot stand when people on the bus play with their hair, clip their nails (we've talked about this before) or do anything else better done at home, in the bathroom, with a mirror.
I moved over as close to the window as I could and just hoped it was far enough.
I can't tell you how disgusted I was by this compulsive hair thing she was doing.
The worst part? I mean, the part I keep thinking about? She works in the super market. Where I shop. She obsessively plays with her hair and works in the super market. Ew. Ew. Ew.
I couldn't get out of that bus fast enough.

Ended up on a 2 Clement, sitting in the back of the bus facing the door. It was sunny but I couldn't find my sunglasses.

I got out at the Arguello and Clement stop and walked to Fabrix where I sorted through the button bin for far too long. Got 4 buttons that might go on a new scarf I am finishing this week. The neighborhood felt quiet, which was nice. Even the vegetable market was quieter than usual. They had huge sacks of peeled garlic and longans, and they both smelled good.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bus Report #370

With the arrival of M.C. and P.M., I've had a very bus week/end.
P.M. and I had some good bus luck on Sunday and Monday: we took 38s, 22s, and 43s with no major problems.

Yesterday my bus ride was quiet and uneventful.

This morning I had a bunch of regulars riding with me, and it was nice to see them.
The woman who could be a model, Whitney is what we're going to call her, sat right behind me.
The man with the good-smelling coffee sat in the front, his legs splayed out so no one could sit comfortably next to him.
The catfish face man was by the window, and the neck tattoo woman, recovering addict and guy who gets out at Turk sat in the back.
The guy who gets out at Turk got out at Turk.
At McAllister the young teacher with the comfortable yet unattractive shoes got on (my shoes are not much better, but man, where does she get these ugly clunkers?). She sat down and took a letter out of her bag, unfolded it and started to read.
I watched her, mostly because it's been a while since I saw anyone read a letter. Hell, it's been a while since I've read a letter.
She unfolded the white, unlined paper and began to read. She smiled while she did so, and as she flipped the pages she started to laugh. When she was done, she shook her head, still smiling, and then folded the letter back into its envelope.
The neck tattoo woman got out at Geary, the recovering addict at Mission Street.
I am getting used to seeing them. At first the recovering addict annoyed me with his loud talking and his need to talk to everyone in the back of the bus, but I'm starting to warm up to him. He's doing the best he can, far as I can tell, and you know what? He's not doing too badly. At least, he's not doing too badly on the 22 Fillmore.