Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bus Report #440

After watching the creepy fight last Monday, it's been a long week of not much of note on the bus.
I've sat next to or behind the dirty, faux-leather, lavender hat guy three times, missed the early bus but still got to work before anyone else, and been on some extremely crowded afternoon 22 Fillmores.
Yesterday, the 22 was very, very crowded. At Mission, a wheelchair got in the front and a pair of streetrats and their dog got in on the back.
At Church, people were trying to get out of the back door and streetrat #1 started screaming: "Don't you touch the dog! I wouldn't step on your child!"
To which the person trying to get out the bus must have said, "I'll try."
"You'll try?" screeched streetrat #1. "I'll mess you up if you touch my dog."
Meanwhile, neither streetrat made any attempt to get out of the stairwell, pick up their mutt, or anything.
At Duboce it was the same deal, people trying to get out the bus, and Streetrat #2 said, sighing, "This is bullshit. Let's just get out here before I do something I'll regret."
They got out and started walking.
Ok... so you sneak onto a crowded bus with your dog and have the nerve to get all pissy about it when the bus is jam-packed and you're not taking care of your dog properly? Hmm.

Another fun conversation, overheard yesterday afternoon: The mean woman who works at our local art supply store and her friend, a petite lady in a quilted, crazy-patterned jacket, talking about fashion.
"Have you seen What Not To Wear?" asked the mean lady (who was wearing a sweater, a vest and ratty jeans). "It's really helped me understand how to shop for my body type."
I raised my eyebrows. Oh really? I thought. She looked the same as always. Curious.
The other woman said no, she hadn't seen the show, that she does most of her shopping at consignment stores and thrift shops, that she has an impossible time finding clothes that fit her.
"Yeah, I just hate trying things on," said the mean lady. "I don't have the patience for it. And I run cold, so I like wearing this vest. Like even when it's hot out, I can't not wear this vest."
Her friend held out her sleeve. "See this jacket? I've had this for years. I think I got it at (store named after a scientific discipline). Most of their stuff is crap but this jacket has really worked out for me."
I got out at Sutter and went to wait for the 2 Clement. They're phasing out the 4 Sutter in the fall and cutting the 2 Clement route. Sad. It won't affect me, but it will definitely be a problem for a lot of people.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bus Report #439

A normal work commute this morning, 38 Geary to 22 Fillmore, half asleep and on auto-pilot.
I got my coffee and walked towards work. I was about to cross the street to say hi to the guys at the garage when I noticed a man in an apron and yellow kitchen gloves running extremely fast across the street.
I looked to see where he was going, and saw two men engaged in a serious fight right in front of the garage.
One man tripped over the other man's bicycle, and started hitting the man with a piece of wood. The other man hit him back, and it was almost like a fight in a movie, except with bad choreography and no music.
They hit each other with fists and sticks, while the man with the yellow gloves tried to intervene. They rolled towards the street, their arms locked around each other's head.
The guys from the garage came out and suddenly there was a flurry of movement and the garage guys held the man with the bike while the man with the yellow gloves held the man with the stick.
I stood on the corner, motionless.
The fight broke up, the man with the stick leaving with the man with the yellow gloves (I think towards the soup kitchen down the street, not sure).
The garage guys stood by their front door, their arms crossed, waiting for the other guy to move on.
The man with the bike stood there for a minute, until some other friends surrounded him and they moved off down the block together.
One man who had been watching the fight stomped across the street and walked very close to me.
"Nothing like a good fight in the morning," he said.
I walked away and hoped that the 22 would come pick me up. I did not want to be walking alone near those guys, no way.
A 22 pulled up and I got on. Luckily, the guy who likes a good fight did not get on.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bus Report #438

This weekend was full of public transit of all sorts.
Saturday - 28 towards Fort Mason, on my way to Renegade Craft Fair. Lots of out of towners going to the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge, almost all of them in sandals and thick, SF-branded fleeces.
After spending some time at the fair (and at the library book sale in Building C) I got back on the 28 headed home. A man wanted to get out near the Exploratorium but didn't signal in time, so he ended up getting out at the bridge stop to take a bus back.

Sunday - 38 Geary downtown, sat next to a teenage boy who spent the whole ride texting his girlfriend who was sitting in front of him. Near the Great American Music Hall, several toothless women and their equally down and out male companions waved at our bus, and danced in a strange, creepy and broken way until we pulled out of the stop.
From the 38 I took BART to MacArthur, a quick and easy trip. Passed by my favorite building in Oakland and the coffee warehouse.
From MacArthur BART I took an AC Transit bus to C's house. The driver was a bitch, acting like she had no idea where my stop was, not offering any help at all. Two AC Transit workers riding on the bus were no help, either, but I forgave them since they drove a different line.
"I can tell you anything you want to know about the 51, honey," one of them said.
After a fun afternoon at C's party it was back to BART for me. I heard a train coming and raced up the stairs, and a moment later I was on my way home.
Fifteen minutes later (whew!) I was spit back out onto Market Street downtown. Ran and caught a 38 Geary towards home.
And then, as if a vortex of weirdness opened up in the middle of our bus, a parade of very San Francisco types got on the bus.
- The Alien Donut Man - seeing him always gives me a bit of a start. He got on at the Larkin stop, and held on to the bars as tightly as he could. He looked like a bird trying to get a good hold on a perch. He eventually sat down, sitting on the edge of his seat, his back straight, his eyes fixed somewhere out the window.
- A toothless, sick looking blonde woman got on at the Polk-Van Ness stop. She could barely support the weight of the backpack she was carrying. She flopped down in the seat next to the Alien Donut Man. She smacked her lips and flipped her hair a few times, then slumped forward and didn't move for a while.
- A pair of slightly misguided trannies, dressed for lounge singing at a bad Polynesian buffet restaurant sometime in the late eighties. They had huge round glasses, long black hair with the life teased out of it, black jackets with shoulder pads and rhinestones scattered across their chests. I wanted to take them on one of those shows where they give you a wardrobe makeover, because they would have looked so much better dressed in a more modern way.
At Geary and Fillmore they got out. One of the girls somehow ended up with her sleeve off and her shirt open, and she fiddled with her (extremely padded) bra, much to the shock of a young man sitting in front of me, who stared at her with his mouth wide open.
- A man standing in the stairwell, trying to maneuver/protect a large sheet of posterboard covered with what looked like a huge, multi-generational family tree.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bus Report #437

After getting out of the Bridge theater late last night, after seeing the (very good, gorgeously filmed, Buenos Aires based) film Tetro, I walked through the foggy darkness to the bus stop. I love when it's foggy out, the way everything looks so soft focus and blurry.
The damp weather had me coughing like crazy. Huddled in the bus stop, I put on my gloves and waited for the bus.
A group of Irish students joined me a moment later. They all stood around one girl with short hair and glasses, who was texting a friend of theirs named Fiona. I couldn't be sure, but I think Fiona was back home and they were messing with her.
The bus came and we all got in.
I sat by the window and stared through it at the reflection of the tall, well dressed man standing behind me.
"It's terrible not having a telly," one of the students said to the rest of her friends. "I mean, at home you'd never not have one, but here we don't have one. And when I'm not at work, it's really awful and boring at home."
Her friends sympathized.
Half the bus got out at Third Ave., and went right in to the newly reopened Buckshot.
I got out at my stop with four or five other tired-looking people, but I was the only person walking down my street.

Bus Report #436

Mostly uneventful week on Muni.
The first half of it I was sick, doped up on cold medicine, so the rides were dull around the edges and felt quick as I drifted in and out of sleep against the window of whatever bus I was on.

Three days on the 22 with catfish face man, the crushed, dirty, lavender faux-leather hat wearer, and several mind bogglingly styling sewing ladies.
Check out these outfits on the 2 Clement and 22 Fillmore:
-Lady with yellow jeans, matching yellow socks, pumpkin colored shoes and matching nail polish, with electric blue jacket with pumpkin colored cuffs.
-Older lady with lime green shoes and matching lime green sweater.
-Woman in leather duffel coat with bright pink turtleneck. The turtleneck was printed with a citrus and strawberry pattern.

Monday through Wednesday I walked by the same used condom on the corner of 16th and San Bruno. It was gone this morning.

I gave a wide berth to the developmentally disabled man who always has his mouth stuffed full of straws, stirrers or paper cups. He's got a routine, and I am not going to be the person to break his routine.

Overheard last night on the 22 (all conversations were in Spanish, translated here for your benefit):

Man to friend: How's it going?
Friend: Oh, you know, another year older, another year closer to death.
Man: Yeah.

Woman with glasses: Hey! What are you doing on this bus?
Short man in T-shirt: Oh, my damned phone broke, had to get it fixed.
Woman with glasses: That's too bad. But next time you're down here, we should get lunch.
Short man in T-shirt: Sounds good.

Older man of indeterminate age, toothless, carrying plastic bags and a small boombox, either talking on a cell phone to a friend, or else just talking to himself (hard to tell):
Yes, I am a Cuban. Well, here in America they call me a black American. But I am Cuban. They sometimes call me a 'Cuban Captain'.
He repeated this statement, or a variation of it, over and over again. His accent was so familiar and comforting, and musical, I wanted him to keep talking.
He got out at Turk and immediately put on the boombox. It sounded tinny and echoey, and played an old song I couldn't place.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Bus Report #435

I was on a 22 last week and when we stopped at 16th and Mission I caught a glimpse of a familiar person, walking away from me but still very recognizable from the back: British Look Guy. He has a very unique style of walking (as you may recall). I was glad to see him, and know that he is still around.

I've noticed a lot more people in wheelchairs on the bus lately, along with many other people who require the lift. I don't know if it's related to summer, or something else. No idea. It's interesting, though. The rest of the passengers in the front of the bus have managed to vacate the front seats quickly, or help the person flip the seats up, or helped with the brakes or seat belt. It restores my faith in people a little bit.

Last night I was on a 22, sitting in the back of the bus, and I saw a woman who looked like Carmen get on and sit a few rows ahead of me. She turned around and it was Carmen, home from work later than usual. I moved up to sit with her and we spent the rest of the commute chatting and catching up on things after a couple of months of not being on the same morning bus. It was lovely.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Quick Mention of Some Good Links

I refreshed some of the links on the sidebar, taking out some that don't work anymore and adding one or two new ones. You should really check them out! Here's a random sampling of what I've been reading...

If you haven't seen the Civic Center blog yet, you should check it out. It's really, really good.

Also, if you speak/read Spanish, Alberto Fuguet's blog is great. He is a writer and filmmaker from Chile and his stuff is genius, seriously.

Tangobaby is a thoughtful blogger, as well. Check her out and while you are there, make a donation to help out K and the kids. It might be the best donation you make this year.

Benjie's got a spiffy new site, too. He's a great musician and a truly good friend.

That is all, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Bus Report #434

Uneventful bus week so far.
Maybe people are still vacationing? The buses have been pretty empty and the commuters have been pretty easy going.
The other day I saw the 80's woman on Geary near 21st, and pointed her out to The Professor and the Professor-out-law, but they didn't seem too excited to see her.
This morning on my 22, the Roche Bobois guy sat next to me. He is so friendly, so polite, a pleasure to sit next to.
Several times this week I've seen people try to haggle with the driver over the new fares. Just pay it, people! Even though I am against the fare hike, it's done, so deal with it.
I've been exclusively riding the 22 in the afternoons lately. It's much less crowded without all the students, and it's been on time (according to Next Bus). It's been oddly relaxing. Imagine that.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bus Report #433

Random bus bullets (of the non-harmful kind):

I've sat next to the catfish face man two mornings in a row. He doesn't like to cede any part of the seat to me, and seems to get testy if I try to reclaim what is mine.

The 80s woman was on my 22 this morning. I always wonder if she had some sort of mental break in 1984 that led to her still wearing the same clothes she wore back then. She is all about the high tops, shoulder pads, puffy ski jackets and bunchy socks over leggings. That, and she talks to herself.

Seen on my bus yesterday afternoon: A very chatty junkie in a T-shirt that was mostly holes talking about international travel with a German-American business woman on the 38. She tried to break free of their conversation but there was no escape. I felt bad for her.

On the same 38, a man with a tattoo of the periodic table of the elements symbol for silver, Ag, tattooed on his forearm.
Cool tattoo. Reminded me of cramming for chemistry tests with M. and N. back in high school, and the memory tricks we used to remember each symbol.

Girl with button that read: I love you more than bacon.

This morning: People trying to pay their cash fares, not realizing the fares are now $2.00 each. Lots of searching for change and smoothing out dollar bills.