Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bus Report #405

For years I've taken the 22 Fillmore with an older man, a 60+, starting to bald, pale white guy with John Lennon glasses. He always has an overstuffed messenger style bag and a blue zip up coat, no matter the weather.
I used to think he was friends with a few of the older ladies on the bus, but recently I've noticed a slightly disturbing pattern with this guy.
He will always go out of his way to sit next to, chat up, and ogle any black girl or woman on the bus. There could be rows and rows of empty seats but he always manages to sit next to women or girls who are by themselves. I've seen him do this to girls as young as 14 or 15, up to ladies who have got at least a decade on him.
He's not even a good conversationalist: mostly he comments on something obvious and waits for a reply. There are a couple of older ladies that tolerate him and his advances, but it just doesn't seem right to me.
It bothers me, because for the most part these girls and women are just minding their own business and getting ready for school or work, and here comes this creepy guy who sits right next to them and tries to start a conversation.
Or worse: yesterday he sat in the seat in front of me but sat sideways so he was facing a 20-something woman who sat across the aisle from me. He sat perfectly still, staring right at her for the better part of 15 minutes. He obviously wanted her to say something, but she was smart: she started reading her book and had headphones on so she could tune him out if he talked to her.
It was uncomfortable, and I was not the one getting ogled.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bus Report #404

The family was in town last weekend and we had pretty good bus luck all weekend. My mom wanted to see the Alien Donut Man, but alas we did not see him. Despite that great disappointment, we did all right for ourselves.
Friday we took the 38 to Masonic, where we wanted to take a 43, but Next Bus said it would be 15 minutes so we walked. Walked all the way to Cole Valley and only when we were a block away from our destination did the bus show up.
We took 38s, 33s, and a 2 for the rest of their stay. No news to report.

Last night I had a lot of errands to run. I walked to the bank, then took the 22 to Fillmore and went to the library. Got back on the 38 to head back to my neighborhood.
Our bus idled in the stop at 20th Ave. The driver jumped out and ran back to the Russian bakery in the middle of the block. Give me a break! I hate when they get out of the bus and run for a snack, or the paper, or cigarettes. It's called bring that stuff with you. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't seem right.

This morning on the 22, my seatmate was a young guy, early 20s, dressed for a day painting houses or knocking them down. He seemed nice, but man did he smell! He probably wears the same clothes to work almost every day and maybe he doesn't wash them that often. Ugh.
Meanwhile, to add to the smelltastrophe, the kids sitting behind me were eating McDonald's, a smell that always makes me feel sick.
I stood up and opened the window. Better.

I got out of the bus at my usual stop, got coffee, and walked the rest of the way to work. 2 33 Stanyan buses drove by, then another 4 22 Fillmore buses. It was a lot of backed-up buses. I wondered if somehow my bus had been too slow, or something.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Bus Report #403


After spending the afternoon with the Teacher's Pet, I waited in a bus shelter at 9th and Irving for a 44 O'Shaughnessy, or the 'ghost bus', as the Teacher's Pet calls it. Just before the bus pulled in to our stop, a woman joined us. She was wearing several jackets, lace gloves, thick glasses, a hat, and had a round, plaid shawl-thingy.
I said "goodbye" to the Teacher's Pet and got on the bus. I ended up sitting right behind the strange woman. She took off her plaid shawl-thingy, and I saw what it really was: it was basically an umbrella without the metal parts. She must have had an old broken umbrella, and just took off the fabric part. Strange.


This morning, I had a long wait for the 38. It finally showed up, late, and I sat down next to this woman I see most mornings. This woman is probably in her forties but still dresses like a teenager, in flared jeans, fake fur collared jackets, you name it. I know she gets out at Divisadero and I was all set to get up so she could get out of our seat. She did not bother asking me to move, nor did she acknowledge me at all when I stood up for her. Okay. I guess she acts like a teenager, too.

The 22 came a minute after I got to the stop. It was the nice but slow driver. I got on and sat in front of the older gentleman who always has a briefcase with him. He spent most of the ride opening and closing the briefcase.
The bus smelled terrible: like chlorine bleach being used to cover up vomit, blood and something yeasty. Most of the windows were open but it didn't help.
A few middle school girls got on and started talking about the smell.
"It smells like bleach," said girl #1
"I don't know what kind of bleach YOU use," said girl #2.
"No, for real, and like, that fabric softener with the baby on it, you know? Tide?" said girl #1.
I thought, no, I think that's Downy.
"Oh, you mean Bounce!" said girl #3.

At Church and Market, our poles fell down, or got caught in the wires, or something. Our driver got out and spent a few minutes trying to reposition the poles. Then, he climbed up the side of the bus (right outside my window) and stood on the roof. I watched his reflection in a window across the street: He stood on top of the bus and then moved towards the poles. He separated them, then carefully climbed back down to street level. Another quick maneuver and we were ready to roll.

I noticed that no-name sushi is now completely boarded up. I wonder what will happen with that building.

We flew down 16th, barely making any stops. I got out at my usual stop and got some coffee, then walked the rest of the way to work. My friend at the garage was washing down the sidewalk. We exchanged "hellos" and I kept going.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bus Report #402

Last night I went to Hayes Valley with J.
We caught a 21 Hayes at Arguello and Fulton and sat behind a couple who kept taking pictures of the man in front of them. The man in the couple kept turning around and looking at us, guiltily. I wanted to know why the woman was taking so many pictures of this random guy, and I got my answer when the couple got out at Divisadero (to go to a show at the Independent).
The man was a bit strange. He got up out of his seat and came back to sit right in front of me. He put a piece of newspaper down on the seat and sat down.
He had a bizarre haircut: it looked like he had gotten the sides shaved at some point and then grown his hair out, but shaved the sides again. I can't explain it very well... I guess we should have taken pictures too!

On the way back to our neighborhood, the bus was really crowded. We flashed our fast passes at the driver and got in through the back door. Lots of drunk student types and tired-looking people coming home from work.
There was an older lady standing in the step well. She was wearing lots of layers, had a hat on, and several bandages under her eye. She was talking, ranting, really, and no one was paying attention to her except to avoid her.
The bus emptied out a bit. J. and I got seats behind a large man who was sprawled out in his seat, sleeping. The ranting woman came down and sat next to him.
Her smell was terrible. I couldn't help but cough and J. and I exchanged looks. The window above our seat was stuck shut, of course. I breathed through my mouth.
The woman eventually stood up and moved closer to the front of the bus.
She fell and landed on another woman's lap. The woman didn't do anything to help her move. She didn't do anything, period.
A couple of the drunker students, after a few moments, helped the woman get into a seat.
The woman she had fallen on was still sitting perfectly straight in her seat, like a statue.

Bus Report #401

My Wednesday morning was going okay, but got 100 times better when I got on the 22 Fillmore. I know, I know, how can a ride on the 22 actually improve someone's morning? I've got one word for you, Carmen.
Carmen was sitting in our usual spot. I went over to her and said, "Buenas dias, Carmita," and she looked up at me, smiled, and quickly made room for me to sit down.
We chatted and got caught up, as usual, and she told me how things were going at her job. It was great to see her. I pulled the signaler for her when we got to her stop and she got out.

Thursday the bus felt a bit empty on the way down to Fillmore, and it was nice. The 22 came and it was full of regulars.
I sat behind the catfish face man, who sat behind the man with the dirty, faux leather, lavender hat.
The construction worker (who must bathe in cheap men's cologne) was sitting across the aisle from me. He talked loudly on his cellphone, narrating our ride for the person he was talking to.
"Yeah, yeah, we're almost at Hayes," he said. "Yeah, then I'll get out, catch the 21. Yep. I'll be there in like fifteen minutes or something."
I got a seat mate at Haight, an older lady with an insulated lunch sack. She clutched the lunch sack in her hands and rested her feet on the bottom of the seat in front of us.

We crawled down 16th Street. It looks like Familia Lopez Cafe has a new name (well, they had 2 storefronts, and one of them has a new name): Dona Mago's Restaurant (it might be cafe, but I haven't gotten a good look, so correct me if I'm wrong).
The car dealership across the street that has been closed for a few months finally has a 'for rent' sign on it. I keep looking in to see if anyone is still watering the plants. The plants still look alive. Maybe they're plastic... I don't know.

I got out at my usual stop and got my coffee. At the garage, I said good morning to the guys and kept walking.