Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bus Report #481

This morning on the 38L, A woman was sitting two seats down from me. She got out at Presidio. A man who had gotten on the bus a few stops earlier, slightly grubby, slightly grumbly, battered cap on his head, immediately went over to her seat and started rubbing his palms over it. At first I thought the seat was dirty and he was brushing it off, but no. This was... well, disgusting.
He rubbed and rubbed at the seat with his bare hand, then sat down in it and stared at his hand, which he held palm up, fingers rigid, in front of him. I know I was not the only person watching him and feeling grossed out.
He sniffed his hand, bent his fingers and moved his hand up and down in front of his face. Shudder.
I got out of the bus as quickly as I could when we got to Fillmore, and did not look back.

The 22 was crowded when it finally came. I sat next to a man who had a large duffel bag at his feet. He had a hot cup of coffee in his hands. The coffee smelled old, burned and gritty.
As the bus filled up the smells got worse.
Tiger balm and ginseng, Ben-Gay or something similar, stale cigarettes and beer, the unwashed jacket on the security guard who would not move out of the stairwell.

At Hayes a woman tried to get out through the back door but she would not step down, despite the chorus of voices telling her that she needed to do so.
She marched towards the front of the bus and started yelling at the driver, who ignored her.

The woman with the same travel mug from an Austin coffee shop that I have at home got out at her usual stop, called a cheerful 'thanks!' to the driver.

At my stop I maneuvered around the security guard who wouldn't move away from the stairwell and hopped down, lightly, favoring my right leg because my knee's feeling tight today. It was so nice to be out of the bus. I breathed deeply, inhaling the fresh (well, fresh for 16th Street) air. Got my coffee and disappeared down the hill into the fog.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a recent trip on the 22. The bus smelled like pot, cigarettes, sauerkraut (of all things) and the usual musty smell that hits you whenever you're on the Muni.

Two high school aged girls were sitting across from me and one said "It smells like too many things on this bus!" I had to laugh.

5:18 PM  

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