Friday, April 09, 2010

Bus Report #500

500th post! Read to the bottom for contest information... Contest Extended!

Yesterday afternoon was all about running. I ran for the 22, catching it just before it pulled out of the stop. Got a seat towards the back. The bus stayed crowded for most of the ride.
What struck me the most about it was that people really were reserving the front seats for the elderly and the disabled. Every time an older person or someone who seemed disabled got on the bus, someone sitting in the front would get up and move towards the back, until the whole front of the bus was full of older folks, people with canes, and a couple of young people with injuries. It was weird, but good.
My seat mate was a little boy who kept kicking his legs up to try to touch the hair of the woman sitting in front of him. He never did manage it. His mom kept giving him stern looks and she kept pushing his legs down, but he didn't care.
Our 22 hit Geary right as a 38L arrived at the stop across the street. It looked like a no-go, but the light changed and the bus was still there, so I ran for it. A woman was asking the driver for directions, or something, so the bus sat there a few minutes and I was able to get in, getting a seat in the last row of the bus next to a heavy-set man who was taking up most of the seat.
The two women sitting in front of me were both talking on their cell phones. I noticed another similarity: they both had flecks of dirt or dandruff in their hair, big flecks, ugh.

Today's commute was exactly the kind of commute you want to have. Quick, quiet buses, a break in the rain while I was waiting outside and friendly faces.
I caught the 22 a few minutes later than usual.
Carmen was sitting in our usual seat, chatting with the guy sitting behind her, the guy who always gets out at Turk. He puts his bike on the bike rack in the front of the bus and he always runs up to the front of the bus before it stops to make sure the driver knows he has to get his bike down. Nice guy.
So Carmen was chatting with bike guy until I showed up. She quickly slid over to make room for me on the seat. We caught up on all of her gossip about her recent vacation, which sounded great. She got out at her usual stop with the Austin coffee mug girl, and they walked together the rest of their way to work.
I got out at my regular stop, waved a 'thanks' to our driver and waited with a couple of other commuters for the light to change.
The coffee shop was busy but not too crowded, and soon I was spit back out on 16th to walk the rest of the way to work.
Three 22 Fillmores passed me by as I walked. I didn't recognize the drivers.


And now onto the contest that I thought we could have in honor of this 500th post.

Tell me in 500 words or less a good Muni story. Stories of heroic drivers, gorgeous crushes, human kindness or something else that will make me smile.

Leave your entry in the comments section. Comments for the contest will close on 4/9/10.

More importantly: What will you win?
Well, I have a couple of prizes in mind. Winners can chose a $5 gift certificate to Toy Boat Dessert Cafe, or a ticket to the Cuban Cowboys show at the Rickshaw Stop on 4/22/10. The Cuban Cowboys are just as great and fun as an ice cream sundae at Toy Boat, so choose wisely.
If you win, be prepared to give me your address to send you your gift certificate, and your email address so I can figure out how to get you your ticket to the show if that is what you chose.

Thanks for reading!

[edited to add: I will keep this post at the top of the page until the contest closes. So read below for more recent Bus Reports. Gracias.]

Contest extended until Friday... Who wants to give sfmike a run for his money?

2 Comments:

Blogger sfmike said...

I was living in North Beach, early 1990s, and was an extra at the San Francisco Opera in a production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni." The opera is all about Don Juan, serial seducer, on his last day on earth before being dragged to hell by a stone statue. I was one of a half dozen lackeys in the production, and it was seriously sexy fun.

On the way home from a performance, after eating and getting tipsy on upper Polk Street, I took a One California bus over Nob Hill late at night. The bus emptied out altogether by the time we got to Stockton Street, midnight in Chinatown on a Sunday night. The ridiculously sexy Latin bus driver had been flirting with me in his rear view mirror and I'd been flirting right back. He ended up parking in front of a Chinatown alley, with the bus running, and we carried on briefly and memorably in a dark doorway. That's my favorite Muni memory.

And if I win, definitely the Cuban Cowboys. It's in my neighborhood.

11:43 AM  
Blogger dani said...

I was out of town (WITH NO INTERNET WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU SHERATON NEW YORK!!) so thanks for extending this!

I have more horror stories on muni than pleasant memories, but this one always makes me smile. When you commute regularly, as I'm sure you know, you see the same driver(s) over and over and can get to know them. I have a couple stories about that. They may not be exciting to others, but they are dear to me.

I’ve moved a few times in the city, and changed jobs just as many times. For a while, I was taking the 30 Stockton (UGH) from downtown to the Marina for work. I noticed that I often had that same driver coming home, but never said anything to him. I would just laugh quietly to myself in the back and silently cheer him (Andrew) on when he would kick belligerents off his bus. Then I moved, and changed jobs, so changed buses… and a while later, there he was again! This time, he was driving on the 21 Fulton between downtown and the Richmond. As the bus empties out towards the end of the route, I said hello and told him I remembered him from the 30. We often chatted at the end of the route when it was less crowded (sorry for holding up the bus!) about this and that. It was a comfort to have the driver know who I was, so they are more likely to watch you as you leave and kind of keep an eye out for your safety on and off the bus. I was sad to lose that familiar face when I moved again.

Now I was living in the sunset, so I would get off work at 11pm downtown and hop on the N Judah every night so I got to know my new muni driver, Greg. He always had running commentary about those getting on and off the trains and got us all home quickly. I always thought that if you could actually make out the graffiti in the sunset tunnel that the driver was going too slow. Greg never let that happen. Anyway, I introduced myself one day by lowering my head down to his window and asking his name. It surprised him that someone would ask, so he was hesitant at first until I told him that he was often my ride home. He never remembered my name, but instead called me Pooh Bear because of the stuffed bear key-chains hanging off of my backpack. From then on, whenever he noticed that I got on he would say over the speakers "Hello Pooh Bear!" and when I would hop off at my stop, he would ring the bells and wave. It made my nighttime commute much more pleasant.

11:11 AM  

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