Saturday, October 31, 2009

Muni Diaries Under The Influence - Awesome!

Thanks to Muni Diaries for such a fun night and thanks to everyone who showed up! Great costumes and attitudes all around. All the acts were great. It was especially great to meet people like Julie, the brains behind I Live Here: SF.
Thanks again, Muni Diaries, hope we meet again soon.

Meanwhile, here is a photo of my Muni-themed cupcakes I made in honor of the night...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Muni Diaries Under The Influence, This Friday!

Did you come to the fun Muni Diaries event in June? Did you have the best time ever? Did you miss the event and wish you hadn't? Well, either way you are in luck.
This Friday, Oct. 30 at the Make Out Room Muni Diaries is doing it again.
Here are the details, but suffice it to say we will have a fabulous time and you will leave the event happier than you arrived.
I hope to read something funny and I think I might bring some cupcakes (first come first served, of course!) for us to enjoy.
See you then? I hope so!
Thanks Muni Diaries. Fog City Notes thinks you're cute and dreamy.

Bus Report #471

On the 44 O'Shaughnessy yesterday afternoon, I saw one of the creepiest interactions I've seen on Muni and there was nothing I could do about it.
A girl got on at Lincoln and 9th, a college student, I guessed. She was very drunk and maybe on something, and she stumbled down the aisle and finally landed in the lap of an open-mouthed young man who did not seem to mind. He looked pretty average: early 20s, baggy clothes, sideways baseball cap for an out of state team.
The girl had long wavy hair, a tank top, shorts and mid-calf-high cowboy boots. She had dime-shaped bruises on her legs. I got the feeling she had been up all night and was heading home to one of the USF dorms in my neighborhood.
She flirted with the open-mouthed boy and he flirted back, put his arm around her shoulder and gave her his igadget to fool with. He brought his face close to hers and talked to her in a low voice. She kissed him and then giggled.
Now, maybe I'm in the minority here, but she was obviously impaired and any decent guy (I imagine), even if he was super excited to have this chick fall all over him, should have just sat back, kept his hands to himself, and NOT taken advantage of the out-of-it girl.
Open-mouth boy asked her if she'd like to borrow his igadget so she could, "put some of your own music on it, then like, we could get together and you could give it back."
She giggled, said something I couldn't hear, slurring her words together.
He offered her some of his juice and she drank it.
He tried to impress her, asking her what music she liked besides rap (because she told him she didn't like rap and that he should listen to something else).
The whole thing was creepy and I wasn't the only person thinking so. The woman in front of me turned in her seat and raised her eyebrows at me. I just shrugged.
I hoped that he would get out first, but he didn't.
"You getting out at Geary?" he asked her.
"Clement, actually," she said.
They both got out together at the last stop.
I hope she made it home okay, and without him.
Is there anything any of us could have done in this situation? It definitely felt like an unsafe situation for her. Potentially.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bus Report #470

My 38 this morning was not very crowded, and it was quiet.
Except for the ogler, who stood up from his seat and went up to our driver, leaned over her shoulder and said something that I didn't hear, but I am sure it was something he wanted her to laugh at. I wouldn't have let him get that close. Especially if I was driving a huge bus. But our poor driver didn't deserve it.
Man. That ogler. He's a menace.

At Fillmore I waited for the 22 with one of the regulars, a nice older lady who must be a nurse or someone else in the medical field. She always wears pink scrubs. The bus came and I hung back for a minute so she could get on first. I sat behind a hulk of a man in a plaid shirt (plaid's back! Who else is excited?).
The ogler got on at the next stop. He got a prime seat in the front, perfect for stalking the unprepared older ladies on their way to work that he so loves.
A guy with a backpack, big headphones and dark sunglasses got on at McAllister and immediately started to open all the windows.
I was glad because the bus was stuffy, and I'd already opened the windows right near my seat.
He sat down, then jumped up and moved to a different seat, and opened more windows.
The ogler got up, shut a few of the windows, and sat back down.
Sunglasses man stood up and moved seats for a third time, opened another window.
The ogler shook his head and tried to engage two older ladies in conversation. Wisely, they ignored him.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bus Report #469

I caught a 3 Jackson tonight, why not, the weather was good and I was in no hurry.
The Marina-type sitting in front of me took her igadget out of her bag and not-too-stealthily took a photo of an aging punk/leather man who was trying to loop his headphones through one of the buckles on his jacket. I couldn't figure out why she took the picture, and wondered what she would do with it.
The bus was almost empty by the time we skirted the park and pulled in to the Divisadero stop.
An elderly man got on. He held a wrinkled plastic bag in one hand and his cane in the other. He leaned heavily on his cane as he got in and sat down across from the driver. He had a black watch cap pulled down over his ears and a non-descript but slightly dirty winter coat on, and a plaid scarf.
His best accessory, though, was his smile: it was so wide it made his eyes crinkle.
He took a bright green apple out of his bag and tossed it in the air, caught it, then slowly stood up and hobbled over to the driver. He smiled even wider and handed the apple to the driver without a word. He sat back down and looked over at me. I couldn't help but smile back.

Bus Report #468

This morning I waited for the bus with the usual early morning regulars. Our fedora-wearing driver pulled up and I got on.
We booked it down to Fillmore, getting there earlier than usual.
I waited in the dark with a couple of people, watched the lights come on further down Geary.
When the 22 came, I was glad to see Carmen sitting in her usual spot, a seat saved for me, just in case.
We caught up on the latest gossip. All is well in her world. I watched her fold her igadget into a case, then into another case, then into a drawstring bag, then into her backpack.
The ogler sat a few rows up from us, ogling some of the ladies that get on at McAllister. I felt bad for them, and hoped they would ignore him.
At Mission Street the exit-door-blocking postal workers got on and blocked the exit door.
Walking to work from the coffee shop, I passed the garage (open but silent), and kept going. For the first time in days, no one was sleeping under the overpass.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bus Report #467

Tonight, everyone on Muni was in a good mood. It was weird: People gave up their seats to elderly and disabled folks, no one minded when babies were crying, and the teenagers were more subdued than usual, and quiet.
A man with crutches got on and sat in one of the front seats. A few stops later, a blind man with a cane got on, and the man with the crutches slid over and guided the blind man into a seat. They shared a laugh, and it was nice.
There was a mom with a very flirty, adorable baby girl. The baby kept waving at everyone and at one point she toddled across the aisle to a woman who sat with her grade-school age daughter. The baby put her arms up and the woman lifted her onto her lap.
"Sorry about that," said the baby's mom, embarrassed.
"No, it's nothing," said the other woman. Meanwhile, the baby had climbed over to the daughter's lap and they were playing together. So cute.
A teenage girl in black clothes (including a sweatshirt that said: SENIORS on it) came and sat next to me. She had lots of eye makeup and a few facial piercings, and a huge beat-up backpack. I smiled at her and she smiled back.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bus Report #466

I headed home late last night, after my volunteer shift at the museum. The 38 was rerouted on Market Street because of the president's visit, so I walked down to catch it.
It was a mostly empty bus. the rest of the riders seemed tired, too, and ready to be home.
Two dorky hat-wearing guys who did not know each other ended up sitting next to each other. It made me laugh. I wondered if they thought it as funny as I did. Probably not.
A heavily tattooed man and his clean cut young friend sat in front of me, on their way to an AA or NA meeting. The clean cut young friend took a pocket size directory of local meetings out of his bag to consult it. "We're almost there," he told the tattooed man.
Behind me, a newly-arrived in San Francisco, pretty college-age Haitian girl talked quietly on the phone with her friend.
She had a lot going on: new school, new city, no job and needy housemates. I silently wished her luck.
Our bus sped down Market to Fifth. Our driver made a crazy, severe turn, so that our bus must have looked like the shape of the number 7 from above.
The tattooed man sniffed in the air. "Man," he said. "Smells like carne asada or something."
I looked down at the takeout container of beef and greens over noodles that I held on my lap.
I looked up.
"That's probably my dinner," I said. "I'm sorry if it smells."
"Nah," he said. "It smells good. What is it?"
"Beef and noodles," I replied. "So you were kind of right."
He and his clean cut friend smiled at me and went back to their chat.
"I'm taking some art classes, like painting," the tattooed man said. "They're great."
"Yeah, I'm gonna take some classes to be an EMT," said the clean cut man.
I got out at my stop and walked home through the fog. My dinner was still warm when I sat down to eat it.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bus Report #465

My 22 Fillmore this morning was crowded.
A sleepy, freshly showered couple sat a few rows ahead of me and to my left. The woman had a thick, oatmeal-colored sweater on and chin length brown hair. The man, in his late 20s, maybe, with Clark Kent glasses and a goatee, had two suitcases and a satchel with him.
I thought, I bet they're going to SFO, they'll get out at Mission and 16th, and then I turned my attention elsewhere and forgot about them for the rest of the ride.
At Mission, the man in the couple got out with his bags. The woman stayed in her seat. She sat huddled against the window.
She did not watch him go.
He stood out on the sidewalk with his bags and looked back at the bus. Was he looking for her?
He was.
She turned a little (but not enough to see him from where she was sitting) and I could see that she had tears running down her face. A tear rolled down her cheek and disappeared into the collar of her sweater.
She quickly turned back to her window.
He didn't move, stood completely still with one hand on his roller suitcase, the other hand clutching the strap of his bag.
He stared straight through the window, past the people in the aisle, past the postal worker blocking the door.
She didn't notice.
As we pulled away, he followed us with his eyes, until, I assume, we were out of his field of vision.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bus Report #464

Silent and dark morning on Muni.
A woman at the bus stop, another regular, said, "I hate how dark it is these days."
I nodded, replied, "well, I bet we change the clocks soon, right?"
"Yes, I checked online," she told me. "We change them November 1."
The bus was crowded but I squeezed between a woman I barely noticed and a tall man playing with his phone and an igadget.
The man sitting across from me looked like a Homicide: Life on the Streets-era Kyle Secor, except for his white earbuds and his PDA. I spent a few moments thinking about this television favorite of mine, before pulling the signal cord and getting out at Fillmore.
There were three of us waiting for the bus and one man sleeping on the bench, an open sleeping bag tucked around his head and shoulders. Our bus came and we got in, and the bus rolled on, still quiet, still mostly empty.
At Church and Market a pair of fare inspectors got on. "Morning, folks," said the woman inspector, smiling. "Let's see your tickets."
I fumbled around in my bag for my Fast Pass, and flipped it in their direction.
We all had passes and transfers, so no one got fined. It was odd, but at that moment I had a feeling of pride, a feeling of "we're all in this together and we won". Everyone had paid their way, and these inspectors knew that. I don't know.
The feeling passed.
16th Street was quiet and for the most part still asleep.
The fare inspectors got out at Mission and 16th, after making sure everyone had a transfer or Fast Pass.
At my stop, my seatmate was nice enough to get up to let me out. I hopped out of the bus and walked the rest of the way to work.
Lots of broken glass on the sidewalk, and further on, under the freeway, some abandoned canvases amidst the used coffee cups and orphaned shoes.
One of the paintings was of a Picasso-esque woman sitting on the edge of a chair, patches of color behind her. She had dark hair and her legs were crossed. I stopped and looked at it for a minute. It was tossed behind the fence so I couldn't rescue it, but I would have liked to.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Bus Report #463

Weekend on Muni:
Lots of kids dressed up like Rainbow Brite for the Love Fest... tutus and beads everywhere, and knee socks, and tube tops, and glitter. Lots of glitter.

People loaded down with picnic blankets and baskets, headed to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. In the evening, they looked tired, a little dirty, but happy.

The cop who almost busted me for jaywalking on Friday, on my morning bus on Sunday. He looked at me like he recognized me, but I hoped not.

44 O'Shaughnessy driver stopping on a dime right in front of me at the 6th and Clement stop, even though there were hordes of pushy people trying to get on before me. Thanks, driver!

So that was the weekend. More events than I can count going on all over the city, more people than usual on the bus, and it was fun trying to guess where they were headed.

This afternoon I took an empty 10 Townsend downtown and transferred to the 38 at Fremont.
There was a tall man dressed all in black, with a black bag covered, seriously - covered - in 1 inch buttons from countless bands and concerts. He had a few buttons on his jacket, too, and DJ grade headphones attached to his Discman, and a CD with an unpronouncible name on it (maybe German?) in his hand.
I felt underbuttoned, since I only have 2 on my jacket lapel.

On the bus I zoned out, listening to music and staring out the window.
New flags on the Luz Hotel.
Lots of people outside Woerner's Liquors.
Nikolas got on at Van Ness and sat a few rows ahead of me.
It was chilly out when I got to my stop. I took a few deep breaths of the deliciously cool air and walked home, happy and anticipating fall.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bus Report #462

Random things I've meant to post but keep forgetting.

As seen out the window of the 38L two weeks ago - I saw an older man, maybe in his 60s, probably homeless, dressed in army pants and a cowboy hat, carrying a seagull tucked under his arm.
A live seagull.
It was a double take moment. I turned my head so I could see him again as we pulled away. His seagull blinked, serenely, and the man kept walking towards Polk and Geary.

Church and Market, as the 22 turned the corner - It was early, I was half asleep, but I recognized the man standing in the bus stop and I know he saw/recognized me, too. When I first moved to San Francisco he was an acquaintance of mine through some friends I don't know anymore. Nice guy, friendly, drank a little too much, an extra in my life who I hadn't thought of in years. Last I'd heard of him he'd had some major open heart surgery and had moved back home to recuperate.
So when I saw him at the bus stop, and he saw me, I smiled and silently wished him well.