Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bus Report #443

A four bus night.
Last night I lazily took a 22 Fillmore to the Potrero Center to run errands. Afterwards, I went to check the NextBus sign in the bus shelter, but it would only say that there was a 53 Southern Heights bus coming in 18 minutes.
I walked to Mission, a nice, easy, painless walk, and stopped in to Casa Thai for some groceries.
As I waited in line to pay, I noticed a stack of Gefen brand kosher for passover macaroon containers displayed on top of the butcher's case. It was on 'especial', for $1.99. A steal, but not one I was going to make.
I waited for the 33 in the plaza on Mission at 16th. As usual, it was a crazy, colorful blur of activity.
A band made up of long-haired, skinny boys played discordant music over by the Antojitos stand. One of their songs was the theme song from the Disney Small World ride. They got a few head turns and strange looks when they played that one.
People waited for the bus with their kids, their bikes, their sacks of groceries.
Young men in baseball caps and shades palmed things to each other and went their separate ways.
One rather scarecrowy-crazy-looking man tried to get on the back of a 49 bus, then was kicked off a moment later by the driver for not paying his fare. He ranted at the driver and made some threatening gestures, and lurched away. A few of us moved away from where he was, just to be safe.
A tall, pale guy with a backpack leaned against a mail box. A petite woman with a dirty T-shirt wrapped around her head stood right in front of him and started asking him mostly unintelligible questions, which started and ended with, "Huh? What do you think, white man?" or "Hey, white boy." He ignored her, and she wandered away.
Several 14 Mission buses came by, the first few packed tightly, the last few mostly empty.
I waited, and waited, and the six-minute NextBus promise was broken twice over.
When the bus came it was crowded. I managed to get a seat near the window.
On Mission near 17th, a bike cop had a tall, thin man handcuffed. I wondered if he was going to put the guy on the front of his bike, or wait for a car to come for him.

As we pulled in to the 18th Street stop, I heard those dreaded words, "My last stop is Stanyan and Haight, there's another bus right behind me."
Screw it, I thought, I'll take it til there and switch. I'm not getting out now that I have a seat.
My seat mate was a youngish guy, dressed like a cowboy except for his baseball hat. He had a twang to his voice, which I thought was Southern but after a few minutes of him talking on the phone I realised he was Australian, but had probably lived here a while. He talked on the phone the whole ride.
Twenty sweaty, smelly-bus, clueless-out-of-towners minutes later, we pulled in to the last stop.
Amazing number of people didn't know it was the last stop, or else didn't hear the driver say it or just didn't understand, because only about 10 of us got out. The rest of the passengers eventually got out, and we waited for a minute or so for the next 33.
I got on and worked my way towards the back.
A woman was sitting in an aisle seat with an available window seat. I said that I'd like to sit down. She did not move an inch. I held up my two heavy bags, and she still didn't move. I made like I was going to squeeze by her and possibly hit her with the bags, so she finally sighed and slid over to take the window seat.
Even with all my stuff, if I'd been in the aisle seat and someone wanted to get in to the window, I WOULD STAND UP. Or I'd immediately slide in to the window seat. Jeez.
Everyone was happily settled in to our new bus. The Aussie was still on his phone, only now he was sitting across from me instead of next to me.
We motored towards the next stop.
A woman got on, not someone you would ever notice, just an average looking lady with a purse and a plastic bag of groceries. And because you can't have a bus ride without a crazy person, she was our crazy person for the duration.
She started to talk, loudly, in very broken and hard to understand English, that we "shouldn't trust the Chinese. They tried to poison me." etc., etc.
A boy and his mom exchanged smirks behind her back.
The man sitting in front of me leaned towards his seat mate and asked, "what's she going on about?"
To which the seat mate just shrugged and said, "who knows."
The woman continued to rail against an entire nation of people, and it never made sense.
I got out at Geary and was going to walk home, but my bags were weighing me down, so I caught a 38BX and rode home the rest of the way.


Blogger Civic Center said...

I feel like repairing to bed for a week after reading about that Muni trek. I've run into what sounds like the same crazy lady except she was on a 1-California which was filled with Chinese people. I finally couldn't take it anymore and along with another offended passenger, we managed to menace her off the back door of the bus.

2:07 PM  

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