Monday, June 29, 2009

Bus Report #432

I waited on Potrero for the 33 Stanyan for way, way too long today. I won't say how long, it's too embarrassing, but let's just say it rhymes with almost 'won flour'.
As I waited, I saw E. waiting in the stop too, on his phone up by the corner.
We waved at each other and continued to wait. And wait. And wait.
I called 311 and they said the reason we'd been waiting so long was because a bus had been out of service all day, but she promised the next bus would be there in 6 minutes.
E. waited another 2 minutes and headed towards the 22 stop, pausing in his phone conversation to give me a quick hug.
I could see a bus approaching, stepped into the street, hopefully.
All for nothing. The bus said Garage.
I took off for the 22 stop, getting there just before a 53 and then a 22 pulled into the stop.
E. and I both got on.
I saw a girl I know named Alice. At least, I am pretty sure it was Alice. We said hi.
I sat next to a big guy in Ray-Bans and a linen shirt. He shifted in the seat, grudgingly, and made room for me.
E. and I caught up for a minute, then I spaced out, staring out the window.
My seat mate got out at Mission. I slid over against the window. In the reflection of the greasy plexiglas by the step well I could see my tired reflection over the outline of Alice's head.
I could see E's reflection, too, and the girl sitting behind me.

At Geary I ran to catch a 38.
I sat in front of a woman who spent the whole ride coughing.
The kids in front of me were British (but not Scottish).
We skipped a lot of stops along Geary.
I got home only a few minutes later than usual.
I can't tell if that's sad, or not.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bus Report #431

Two blasts from the past in two days. Consider my mind boggled.

Yesterday was a tough day, and my ride home was spent dozing against the window of the 22 and then sitting squashed up against a very large guy on the 2 Clement. I listened to the latest episode of Radio Lab (so great! Check it out!), and tuned out everyone around me.
As we came into the stop at 10th avenue, I glanced over at the donut shop. I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew. I wanted to see the Alien Donut Man, but its been at least 2 months since I last saw him and I was once again starting to worry about him.
But there he was, sitting ramrod straight in his usual seat, wearing his blue parka, his white hair looking whiter than white, making his tan skin look darker than usual. I stared at him through the window and I swear he saw me, across the street and sitting on the far side of the bus.

Tonight I was catching up with The Teacher’s Pet in Potrero. We were talking and having a snack when I caught sight of a familiar figure walking past our window.
I scrambled to turn in my seat. “It’s the Handsome South Asian Chef!” I told The Teacher’s Pet. “I can’t believe it!”
He looked older and shaggier, but healthy. He wore a baseball hat, but I couldn’t decipher the logo. He walked slowly, a loaf of bread tucked under his arm.
We watched him head up the street. I was glad I saw him.
He’s still got amazing eyes.

On my way home, I took the 22. I had my music on, loud. Most of the people who got on before Mission looked like they were going home from work. It was a quiet bus. Lots of people playing with their igadgets. One woman read a paperback copy of Blindness. Her hair fell across her face as she bent over her book.
A boy with a skateboard got on and stood near the stepwell, moving out of the way to let people get past him. He looked so familiar: I realized he looked like an old family friend, but about 40 years younger. A man in hospital scrubs sat next to me, clutching his briefcase.
A British tourist family got on at McAllister (show of hands: who thinks they were sightseeing in Alamo Square Park?): a mother and father and three daughters, one of whom was probably in her late teens early twenties and two younger girls, one maybe eleven or twelve and one about eight. The older of the two pre-teen daughters was wearing a baseball cap. A boy got on through the back door. He wore the usual teen boy uniform: baggy, beltless jeans, huge T-shirt and backwards baseball cap. The younger of the two tourist daughters looked at the boy then looked at her sister. She took her sister’s hat off and turned it around so it was backwards, then she plunked it back onto her sister’s head. I smiled.

Bus Report #430

This morning the Ogler was in fine Ogler form (by which I mean I was both creeped out and disgusted by him).
First, on the 38, he focused his attentions on an older woman wearing a knit cap, who had arranged a set of floral-patterned luggage around her seat.
Now, benefit of the doubt, he knew her and they are great friends, but I really don't think so. He got on, and after a few minutes he got up from his seat and went to stand in front of her. He bent down and started talking to her in her ear. He did this several times, before the bus stopped and we both got out.
He walked up the street and did not get on my 22 until Turk.
He got in and sat next to a middle-aged woman, and talked her ear off for a few minutes.
A teenage girl got on at Hayes. She had freshly curled hair and bright pink lip gloss. He transferred his unnerving stare to her. I think she felt uncomfortable, because she turned away from him and concentrated her eyes on the side of the bus. He stood up and came over to stand near her. She kept ignoring him.
He got out at his stop, and I felt relieved. He really ups the 'ick' factor for me, because nothing he does is overt and outwardly gross. Some of the ladies do seem to know him, but only in passing. They are polite with him because they are polite people. I wonder how many people notice his inappropriate behavior besides me. Well, me, and his victims.

The man with the dirty lavender faux-suede hat sat in front of me two mornings in a row.
The hippie teacher was wearing gloves this morning, and read Bleak House.

There's a new BBQ place in the Fillmore across from the golden arches... It's called Dibb's BBQ and it looked busy last night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bus Report #429

Random little tidbits:

Friday: 2 Clement from 8th and Clement to Presidio - I thought about the Muni Diaries post about aisle squatters, because I successfully faced one down.

Saturday: M. and I deferred from the blood bank again, alas, so we rode off into the Sunset on a 43 Masonic to get some lunch. Stinky hippy dippies with their pit bulls in the back of the bus.

Sunday: I was in Green Apple looking at cookbooks when someone standing nearby said, "Oh, hello Rachel." I looked around to see who it was, because I hadn't noticed anyone I knew and there was only one other person anywhere near me. He turned and I saw it was Nikolas, he of my early morning 38 Geary bus. I hadn't seen him in a while so we chatted for a few minutes. It was nice to see him.

Today: Fast and easy bus commute this morning. Sat behind the catfish face man.
At Market I caught a glimpse of a new F Market car... It was creamsicle orange and really beautiful.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bus Report #428

Yesterday afternoon I walked down the hill to catch the bus. I was at the corner near the brewery when I saw the 10 Townsend pull in to the stop. I quickened my pace, not really trying to catch the bus, knowing it was a lost cause. But the 10 lingered. So I held on to my bag and hurled myself down the hill, across the street and around the corner.
I climbed on board and sat down.
One of the guys who works down the street (I've narrowed it down to a bathroom fixtures store or the formal dress factory) was already on board. He smiled at me, and I smiled back.
I don't think we've ever actually talked, but he is very nice.
I wonder if he made the bus wait for me? Guess I'll never know.

Later, on the 38, A man got on at Larkin and sat behind me. All was well for a few moments. Then, the most horrible, pervasive stench filled the back of the bus. It smelled awful. It smelled just like a pet store in Boston (great selection and convenient location, smell aside): stuffy, like a million animals rolled in to one, and just generally sweaty, filthy and nasty.
I spent the rest of my ride fanning myself and facing the windows. When I got out the bus, I took several deep breaths of Geary and Masonic air, and it tasted fresh and wonderful.
That's when I realized how awful the smell had been.


The new hat store in the old nut shop location (both names escape me) across from Britex looks great. Love the way the facade looks.

The Richmond Branch library is open again, hooray! Lots of people getting off the bus there lately.

All my commutes have been faster now that school's out for the summer. Yay.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bus Report #427

Big thanks to everyone who made it to Friday's Riders With Drinks event! I hope you were entertained and enjoyed yourself, and were able to make it to the bar at some point (was that crazy, or what?). It had a great turn out and I loved every one of the acts, so good job everyone!
It was nice to catch up with a few people I haven't seen in a while, too. So thanks, Muni Diaries, Fog City Notes loves you.

On my way to the event I was on a 33 Stanyan bus that seemed to embody that which is Muni pretty perfectly.
Our bus had the suits with briefcases on their way home from work, the cranky crazy people lamenting the invention and usage of cell phones, the Upper Haight street rat with his pit bull, who he let sit on the seat next to him, which happened to be right behind me (ew!) and the locals and tourists on their way to the Castro and Mission for the evening. I sat next to one of the suits. We commiserated about how slow the 33 is. He said he also rides the 37, to which I replied, "That's a shame."

Yesterday I was on a 44 O'Shaughnessy with M. and our driver overshot the turn onto Tea Garden Drive. He had to carefully and slowly back up and make the turn. The tourist dad sitting near us explained the situation to his tourist son. It was pretty funny, all told.

As I waited for the bus in the morning, an older gentleman almost got hit in the head by another elderly gentleman's heavy backpack. We exchanged rolls of the eyes and grins.
"Try explaining that to the insurance company," the older gentleman said to me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bus Report #426

Is this a bad omen? On my way to the bus this morning I walked by a cat sleeping on the sidewalk. Only, I don't think it was asleep. Someone is going to have a very, very sad day today.

At Fillmore the only other people waiting in the bus stop were a trio of junkies/crackheads/chronic homeless or else just very severely damaged people. One man had plastic bags tied to his feet and no teeth and he keened back and forth on the bench. The woman stood perfectly still right next to him and didn't say a word. The other man smoked a cigarette, then ran into the street and either had a spasm of some kind, or a seizure. He ran back to the bench and sat down.
They tried to get my attention and sell me transfers, but I ignored them.
It was too early.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bus Report #425

Back from vacation, back on the bus.
It's been quiet in the mornings without the students. Strange, because I didn't think school was out yet. Anyway, it's been quiet and the commute has been fast.

The only hiccups have been due to the fire/explosion in the Tenderloin, but I have had the good luck to stay away from there since I got back. My afternoon 38 Geary has not been affected (going outbound).
Friday afternoon I asked my 10 Townsend driver if it would be a problem for me if I switched to a bus that ran past there. She is an average-looking middle-aged woman with a nice smile. Her voice came as a complete shock to me. She rasped, "No, it don't look like a problem," and she sounded like she was missing her voice box. Weird.

There have been lots of regulars on my route to usher me back into my real life.
In three days I've seen:
Catfish face man
The woman who switches seats at least three times
The Roche Bobois guy
The hippieish teacher
The guys from the supported living place on Fillmore and Hayes

Yesterday afternoon our (crowded, but not with kids) 22 Fillmore pulled in to the stop at Mission and 16th. There were two passengers in wheelchairs waiting to get on, but the driver let a crazy woman and all her stuff (two hand carts, three huge plastic bags and her hideously dreaded and blonded hair, which needed a seat of its own) get in, first.
I wondered why he wasn't asking people to move on back. The guys in the wheelchairs waited, patiently, but our driver shut the doors and cruised right past them.
Next Bus showed another bus coming by in 2 minutes, but it still seemed wrong to me.

Don't forget, Riders With Drinks is this Friday at 7:30 PM at the Make Out room... Be there or be square. Here are the details.