Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bus Report #414

My next post will be number 415.
No one entered my last contest, but I'd like to propose another one anyway in honor of my 415
th post (any readers not in the Bay Area, 415 is our area code).
So here we go... I'd like to hear a great
Muni tale of adventure, woe or redemption.
Winners will have their tale posted in bus report #415 and will win a $5 gift certificate to either Toy Boat Dessert Cafe or Green Apple Books (If they give $5 gift certs, I will check).
I will also accept stories from people who take other modes of public transit in other cities/countries/universes.

What are you waiting for? This is a deal of a lifetime. Or something.
You can post your story in the comments or email it to me (address is in the sidebar). Leave your name and email so I can get back to you.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Bus Report...

Three days in a row running for my 22, but it's been my favorite 22 driver, the very tall, handsome, polite driver who always stops right in front of me. I've never heard him speak but I have a feeling he is from somewhere else... He has a foreign air about him, I can't explain it except to say I could see him in a National Geographic article about nomads of the Sahara, or Middle Eastern diplomats, or something.
Anyway, today he smiled and opened the door for me, and I thanked him (as usual) and headed towards the back. I got my own seat, across from the catfish face man.
We kept going.
The loud construction guys got on, the dapper man in the fedora (who is bald underneath) got out.
The beautiful Ethiopian lady who gets on at Turk got on. She has a lovely scarf she always wraps around her head and her shoulders, and it looks pretty as well as cozy.
I expected the girl with the cute mutt dog to get on at Haight, but she wasn't there. Her dog is small enough that she can carry it in her arms, and then the dog always sits perfectly still on her lap. I don't like most dogs, but this one is pretty cute.

I got out at my usual stop and got coffee, breakfast and lunch (someone forgot to make lunch last night... shame on me.)

As I crossed the street, I saw a 22 roll by. It was the nice but slow driver (slow as in drives slow, not mentally slow). He waved and I waved back.

Said 'hey' to the guys at the garage and walked the rest of the way to work.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bus Report #413

This weekend I took 38s, 38Ls, the 22, 21 and the 2.

On the 21, my seatmate, an older man with broken glasses, was reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder.
"Great book," I told him.
He nodded. "Yes, my wife told me to read it, it's pretty interesting."
"The main guy has a bit of a god complex, but it's good anyway," I said.
"You know, you're right. He DOES act like that!" my seatmate replied.
"I'll let you enjoy your book," I told him.

I took the 22 to have brunch with The Teacher's Pet yesterday. The bus emptied out at Potrero and I got a private coach for the rest of the journey. It was odd, that rarely happens to me on a Sunday, but it was cool.
After brunch the two of us went to Japantown to hang out (took the 22). To get home, we were going to take a 38, but it was a 15 minute wait. We decided to take a 2, but got to the stop just as the bus was leaving. We waited another 10 minutes and caught the next one.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bus Report #412

Last night I ran a quick errand in Potrero Hill then waited at the Bryant and 16th stop for the bus. I wanted to take a 33 but the 22 showed up first, so I got on. There was one free seat towards the back, and I got it. I cracked open the windows (it was warm and someone had on bad cologne) and settled in for my ride.

At Church and Market I got a new seatmate, who promptly fell asleep. He kept sort of slumping over close to me, then righting himself, then slumping again.

We spent a lot of time at the Haight Street stop, lots of people getting in and out, stragglers waving us down after getting out of the 7 or 71. We lurched up the hill and passed my old street, old corner store, old coffeeshop.

A car must have been double-parked between Grove and McAllister because we screeched to a halt, and our driver laid on the horn while he swerved around a car.

I thought about getting out at Sutter and taking a 2 or a 3, but I went with the general flow of passengers and got out at Geary. A man behind me on the bus started pushing and saying, "get out of of the way," so I cut my eyes at him and said, "we're all getting out, too." It was mean, but I don't like pushy people.

The first 38L that came was crowded, completely packed, so I waited for the next one.
I sat in the back next to a man with a Red Sox hat and a tote bag I was sure said "Bucksport Farmer's Market", Bucksport being a town in Maine I spent a lot of time in as a kid.
I wanted it to say Bucksport, but when he moved I saw it said "Brockport". Ah, well.

At my stop, I fell in step with a neighbor we'll call Arthur. Arthur is one of those friendly neighborhood guys who is a little nosy and always forgets your name.
"Sharon, right?" he said.
"Rebecca," I replied, a lie but a small one.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bus Report #410

Yesterday afternoon I took the 10 downtown to catch a 38 home. Everyone was wearing green: no surprise there, it was St. Patrick's Day ( or, if you grew up in Boston, also Evacuation Day, a holiday we always thought was suspiciously observed on the same day as St. Patrick's Day, giving the people of Boston a day off work so they could... What? Observe the evacuation?).
I liked seeing all the different shades of green, from the bright greens to the muted grass color of a woman's business suit (the woman was running to catch CalTrain).
I had on a green shirt, but I wear green a lot so it wasn't on purpose.

A man with a big frame pack got on the bus and told the driver, "I need to get to my job at Embarcadero." The man made no move to pay. Instead he said, "I'll get you back the next time."
This seemed to work for the driver, or maybe he was just too tired to argue, because he let the man on.
The man seemed a little twitchy but didn't get weird until we hit Brannan Street. A woman got on and walked towards the back of the bus. The man followed her with his eyes and then raised up his arms and made a 'shoo'ing gesture in her direction. He also made a blowing noise, like the wind. Huh. He stood up and immediately started losing his balance, almost landing in the laps of the people sitting across from him. He stared at a girl who was playing with her igadget, and bent down to get a better look. She shot him a 'get away from me' glance and he did, sort of. He hovered above my seat, his frame pack swinging dangerously close to my head. He 'shoo'ed a couple more passengers and mumbled something I couldn't hear. He got out at Howard.

I made a seamless transfer to a 38L and got a window seat. An older couple sat down on the seats in the middle of the accordioned section of the bus, then got up and sat elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bus Report #409

This morning I left the house a little earlier than usual, because I needed to stop and grab something for lunch on the way in to work. I dug out my trusty Discman and put on a book on tape (er, CD!) to listen to on the way down to Potrero.
The bus came and I got on.
Two lovebirds sat across from me, the girl with her legs up in the boys lap. He wore a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hat. Tinjas, my sister used to call them. Actually, we still call them that in my family.
I wasn't really paying attention to them, instead listening to my book on CD. After a while, though, I noticed how similar the two of them looked. Same short dirty blond hair, same general build... I got that feeling you get sometimes, like a smirk from deep inside somewhere. They were dating themselves, or each other, you get the picture.
I smiled.

On the 22 I sat with Carmen, on her way to work early for a meeting. We chatted like always, she taught me a couple of Mexican Spanish idioms that don't translate well into English but were funny anyway. For the second time in a week, the comedian Cantinflas came up in normal conversation. His smarmy little mustache and beat up hat always make me cringe/laugh.

I got out at my usual stop and got some lunch things at Safeway. I couldn't resist two for one strawberries (I had some for snack and lunch, they were exquisite).

There were a lot of people waiting for buses in all directions at 16th and Potrero. I felt a little bit like my quiet morning routine had been invaded, but it didn't last.

I said 'hey' to the guys at the garage and kept going, walking slowly so I could listen to the end of my chapter.

My favorite tree was surrounded by mushrooms, a product of the misty wet rain from yesterday. The mushrooms had come up overnight, curious and fascinating and gross all at the same time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bus Report #408

Yesterday I had to run for the 22. I made it, catching the bus as it crossed Geary. The driver, a favorite of mine, pulled over and I got on, followed by the serious looking man in the fedora and a very greasy, sickly looking man.
The guy in the fedora sat in one of the senior seats.
The sick guy curled into a seated fetal position and spread a T-shirt over his head, covering his whole head and upper body.

I took a seat a little further back. The catfish face man was in his usual spot. The man with the faux-suede dirty lavender hat sat in the front, sprawled out in his seat.

This morning I took a 38L down to Geary and made a smooth transition from 38L to 22. I just crossed the street and there it was, as though it was a cab or limo waiting for me.
Carmen sat in our usual spot. We both pulled off our headphones and I slid into the seat beside her.
We immediately started talking in Spanish, catching up with each other. She is truly a good person and a great bus companion. We talked right up until she got out of the bus.
I put my headphones back on and listened to one of the best This American Life episodes ever: Episode #218 , Act V. You should listen to it, for free, on the TAL website.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bus Report #407

As seen on the 19 Polk yesterday afternoon:

A man in a wheelchair got on near the Hall of Justice. I barely registered him, until, a couple stops later, I noticed he was waving his arms around, holding two bottles of Head & Shoulders in each hand. He was selling them.
It must have been a good deal (though who knows what was in those bottles...) because a woman with extremely short hair made her way to the rear of her bus clutching two bottles of the shampoo in her arms.
I thought, why does someone with such short hair need so much shampoo?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bus Report #406

Today's report brought to you by the letter S, as in Smelly.

Yesterday I was on the 22, the ride was going smoothly and there was a chance I'd get to work before the rain started up again. Things were good.
Until the Haight Street stop when the girl with the cat got on.
I am allergic to cats, not horribly, but enough. That said, a short bus ride with a cat isn't enough to hurt me. BUT! The girl not only had the cat in a carrier, she had a litter box in a plastic bag and a huge tote full of other cat-related items. It smelled bad. It smelled like someone who has a million cats and never cleans up from them. Gross. I should have told her she couldn't sit there because I was allergic, but I didn't. Bad on me. Instead, I opened the window and spent the whole ride with my face turned away from her.

I got out of the bus at my usual stop and took several deep breaths. AHHHH fresh air.
The Double Play Bar is celebrating its 100th birthday this week, looks like they are having a party in a few days, check it out.

I got coffee and a paper and that's when the deluge started. I ran to the bus stop and took a 22 the rest of the way to work.

Last night I barely caught the 10 Townsend. Running down a hill in the rain in plastic boots slowed me down, but I made it and got a seat in the back.

I got out at Market and waited for the 38. A slovenly, stinky man ambled up and asked the guy standing next to me if he could catch the 38 at this stop. The guy said yes. The slob then started tying his shirttails together, but it looked more like he was fumbling with his pants. I moved away from him.

I got on the 38 when it arrived and headed straight for the seats in the back. I got one near the window. The slob made his way towards the back of the bus. I hoped he'd sit all the way back, but no. He sat right behind me.
He stank horribly.
He didn't get out until Leavenworth, but when he did, I know I was not the only person glad to see him go.

Almost all the ladies and girls on the bus were wearing colorful rain boots. It was fun to see the different styles and patterns.

This morning I took a 38 Limited. It was pretty full, and the only available seat was next to a gigantic man who did not want to make room for me. I sat next to him anyway.
I wasn't sure if it was him or someone else, but the whole back of our bus just stunk of unwashed bodies and sweat. It was disgusting.
I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I wish the buses still had the openable windows at face level instead of the ones high up.
I'll leave it at that.